Intertrial interval effects in classically conditioned fear to a discrete conditioned stimulus and to situational cues


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Abstract

In Exp I fear was classically conditioned in a total of 240 female hooded and Sprague-Dawley rats with a discrete conditioned stimulus (CS) at intertrial intervals (ITIs) of 15, 45, 75, 105, 165, or 225 sec and in Exp II, with an additional 144 Ss, with or without a discrete CS at ITIs of 165, 225, or 285 sec. The amount of fear conditioned to situational cues and to the discrete CS plus situational cues was then measured by the learning of a hurdle-jumping response which allowed escape from the fear-eliciting stimuli. Results suggest that as ITI was lengthened fear conditioned to situational cues alone and to the discrete CS increased. However, following conditioning with a discrete CS, fear elicited by situational cues increased with ITI but then decreased, presumably because a discrimination had been formed between the situational cues and the compound of CS plus situational cues. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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