Associative effects of US preexposure: modulation of conditioned responding by an excitatory training context.J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 1987 Jan; 13(1):65-72.JE
In two experiments we examined factors that contribute to retarded emergence of conditioned responding to a conditioned stimulus (CS) trained in a context in which unsignaled unconditioned stimuli (USs) had previously been administered. In both experiments water-deprived rats were used in a conditioned lick suppression task to measure the conditioned response elicitation potential of the CS and the training context. From Experiment 1 we determined that nonreinforced exposure to the excitatory context after US preexposure and prior to CS-US pairings in that context eliminated the conditioned response deficit observed on a subsequent test of the CS. The recovery from the US preexposure deficit was nearly as great in animals that received nonreinforced exposure to the excitatory training context after the CS-US pairings but prior to the ultimate test of the CS. From Experiment 2 we determined that the recovery induced by contextual deflation after CS training was specific to deflation of the context in which the CS was trained as opposed to another excitatory context. In total, these experiments suggest that context-US associations partially mask the expression of a learned CS-US association. These results are discussed in terms of recent models of conditioned response generation.