Effects of multiple contexts and context similarity on the renewal of extinguished conditioned behaviour in an ABA design with humans
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The ABA renewal procedure involves pairing a conditional stimulus (CS) and an unconditional stimulus (US) in one context (A), presenting extinction trials of the CS alone in a second context (B), and nonreinforced test trials of the CS in the acquisition context (A). The renewal of extinguished conditioned behaviour is observed during test. The current study tested the effects of multiple extinction contexts and context similarity in attenuating renewal. Participants (N= 99) took part in a fear conditioning ABA renewal procedure. Using a measure of self-reported expectancy of the US, ABA renewal was observed when a single extinction context that was dissimilar to the test context was used. Renewal was attenuated, though still present, when extinction occurred in multiple dissimilar extinction contexts or in a single extinction context that was similar to the test context. Renewal was completely abolished when multiple extinction contexts that were similar to the test context were combined. Multiple extinction contexts and context similarity act additively in their effect on attenuating renewal. The results are discussed in relation to the design of exposure therapy programs that seek to reduce relapse that can occur via renewal.
Learning and Motivation
© 2011 Elsevier Inc. 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.
Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance