Effects of an extinguished CS on competition with another CS.Behav Processes. 2006 Mar; 72(1):14-22.BP
Three experiments were conducted using a conditioned taste aversion procedure with rats to examine the effect of nonreinforced presentations of a conditioned stimulus (CS) on its ability to compete with a target stimulus for manifest conditioned responding. Two CSs (A and B) were presented in a serial compound and then paired with the unconditioned stimulus. CS A was first paired with the US and then presented without the US (i.e., extinction) prior to reinforced presentation of the AB compound. Experiment 1 showed that A was poor at competing with B for conditioned responding when given conditioning and extinction prior to reinforcement of AB relative to a group that received both A and B for the first time during compound conditioning. That is, an extinguished A stimulus allowed greater manifest acquisition to B. Experiment 2 found that extinction treatment produced a poor CR to the pretrained and extinguished CS itself following compound conditioning. Experiment 3 found that interposing a retention interval after extinction of A and prior to compound conditioning enhanced A's ability to compete with B. The results of these experiments are discussed with regard to different theories of extinction and associative competition.