An experiment with rats compared the ability of fixed and variable duration cues to produce blocking. Rats in group B (Blocking) were trained that both fixed- (F) and variable- (V) duration cues would be followed by food delivery. In a subsequent training stage F and V continued to be reinforced, but F was accompanied by X, and V by Y. In the test phase responding to X and Y was examined. Control group O (Overshadowing) received identical treatment, except that F and V were nonreinforced in the first training stage. In group B there was evidence for blocking, but only of X, which had been conditioned in compound with the fixed-duration F; there was no evidence for blocking of Y, which had been conditioned in compound with the variable-duration V. It is suggested that this result may occur because fixed cues reach a higher, more stable asymptote of associative strength than do their variable equivalents.
- Associative learning
- Stimulus distribution form
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Physiology (medical)