Interval duration effects on blocking in appetitive conditioning

Dómhnall Jennings, Kimberly Kirkpatrick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Three experiments examined absolute (Experiment 1) and relative (Experiments 2a and 2b) duration effects on blocking. In Experiment 1, rats were pretrained with a short or long conditioned stimulus (CS1) followed by food, after which they were given reinforced short-short or long-long CS1-CS2 simultaneous compounds. Compared to overshadowing control groups, both pretrained groups displayed blocking, and there was no clear effect of absolute stimulus duration on the magnitude of blocking. In Experiments 2a and 2b, the rats received partially overlapping short-long CS1-CS2 compounds. In both experiments, a long CS1 blocked a short CS2, but not vice versa. This was the case when the long CS1 was nine times (Experiment 2a) or only 1.5 times (Experiment 2b) the duration of the short CS2. The pattern of results is most consistent with a real-time model of conditioning, such as the Sutton and Barto [Sutton, R.S., Barto, A.G., 1990. Time derivative models of Pavlovian reinforcement. In: Gabriel, M.R., Moore, J.W. (Eds.), Learning and Computational Neuroscience: Foundations of Adaptive Networks. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 497-537] temporal difference model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-329
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioural Processes
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  • Classical conditioning
  • Learning
  • Rats
  • Reinforcement
  • Time perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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