The resistance of renewal to instructions that devalue the role of contextual cues in a conditioned suppression task with humans
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The renewal of extinguished conditioned behaviour appears to reXect context-dependent learning. The present research used a conditioned suppression task with humans to examine whether instructions concerning the context could inXuence renewal. Pairings of a conditional stimulus (CS) and unconditional stimulus (US) were made in one context, followed by extinction trials of CS alone in a second context, and test trials of CS alone upon return to the original learning context. Four experiments tested whether the renewal of conditioned suppression observed during test would be attenuated if participants were instructed that the context changes were irrelevant to the predictive relationship between the CS and US. Using a diVerential conditioning design, no attenuation was found when the instructions were given prior to conditioning (Experiment 1) or immediately prior to the test trials (Experiment 2). The latter result was replicated with a single-cue conditioning design and further controls for exposure to the extinction contexts (Experiment 3). The collection of on-line ratings about the relationship between the contextual changes and the predictive nature of the CS indicated that participants did attend to and believe the instructions (Experiment 4). The results point to the resistance of renewal to explicit instructions that attempt to devalue the role of the contextual cues.
Learning and Motivation
© 2007 Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.