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Summation: further assessment of a configural theory

Pearce, John M.; George, David N.; Aydin, Aydan


John M. Pearce

Aydan Aydin


Rats received Pavlovian conditioning in which food was signalled by a visual stimulus, A+, an auditory stimulus, B+, and a compound composed of different visual and auditory stimuli, CD+. Test trials were then given with the compound AB. Experiments 1 and 2A revealed stronger responding during AB than during CD. In Experiment 2B, there was no evidence of a summation of responding during AB when A+ B+ training was conducted in the absence of CD+ trials. A further failure to observe abnormally strong responding during AB was found in Experiment 3 for which the training trials with A+ B+ CD+ were accompanied by trials in which C and D were separately paired with food. The results are explained in terms of a configural theory of conditioning, which assumes that responding during a compound is determined by generalization from its components, as well as from other compounds to which it is similar.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 1, 2002
Journal Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section B. Comparative and Physiological Psychology
Print ISSN 0272-4995
Electronic ISSN 1464-1321
Publisher Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 55
Issue 1b
Pages 61-73
APA6 Citation Pearce, J. M., George, D. N., & Aydin, A. (2002). Summation: further assessment of a configural theory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Series B Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55(1b), 61-73.
Keywords Discrimination; Stimulus; Pavlovian conditioning
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