Carbon dioxide effects on acquisition & extinction of avoidance behavior

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4 groups of rats were anesthetized with CO-sub(2) gas at 4 different intervals following each of 15 conditioning trials; another group received partial anesthetization after each conditioning trial; and another group served as a confinement control group. The partially anesthetized group and the group anesthetized immediately after each trial were clearly inferior to all other groups in acquiring the avoidance habit. These data indicated that CO-sub(2) treatment impaired acquisition of the avoidance response either by interrupting the consolidation of the habit or by acting as a negative reinforcer for the habit. A 2nd experiment, using extinction trials followed by CO-sub(2) treatments, yielded data indicating that the CO-sub(2) treatment acted as a negative reinforcer. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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