Familiarity-Based Stimulus Generalization of Conditioned Suppression

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We report that stimulus novelty/familiarity is able to modulate stimulus generalization and discuss the theoretical implications of novelty/familiarity coding. Rats in Skinner boxes received clicker → shock pairings before generalization testing to a tone. Before clicker training, different groups of rats received preexposure treatments designed to systematically modulate the clicker and the tone’s novelty and familiarity. Rats whose preexposure matched novelty/familiarity (i.e., either both or neither clicker and tone were preexposed) showed enhanced suppression to the tone relative to rats whose preexposure mixed novelty/familiarity (i.e., only clicker or tone was preexposed). This was not the result of sensory preconditioning to clicker and tone.

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