Comparator Mechanisms and Conditioned Inhibition: Conditioned Stimulus Preexposure Disrupts Pavlovian Conditioned Inhibition but Not Explicitly Unpaired Inhibition

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Three conditioned lick-suppression experiments with rats examined the effects of pretraining exposure to the conditioned stimulus (CS) on behavior indicative of conditioned inhibition. After CS-preexposure treatment, subjects received either Pavlovian conditioned inhibition training or explicitly unpaired inhibition training with the preexposed CS. The inhibitory status of the CS was then assessed with a retardation (Experiment 1) or a summation (Experiment 2) test. Experiment 3 controlled for the unconditioned stimulus-preexposure effect being a potential confound in Experiments 1 and 2. As predicted by the comparator hypothesis (R. R. Miller & L. D. Matzel, 1988), the CS–context association that developed during the CS-preexposure phase disrupted the expression of Pavlovian conditioned inhibition but not the expression of explicitly unpaired inhibition.

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