Reinstatement of fear to an extinguished conditioned stimulus: two roles for context

J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 2002 Jan;28(1):97-110.


The authors studied the role of context in reinstatement. Freezing was reinstated when the conditioned stimulus (CS) was extinguished in 1 context and rats moved to another context for reexposure to the shock unconditioned stimulus (US) and test. It was also reinstated (rather than renewed) when rats were shocked in the extinction context and moved to another context for test. This reinstatement was CS specific and reduced by nonreinforced exposures to the extinction context. Rats shocked in the context in which a stimulus had been preexposed froze when tested in another context. These findings suggest 2 roles for context in reinstatement: conditioning of the test context (M. E. Bouton, 1993) and mediated conditioning by the extinction context (P. C. Holland, 1990).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Psychological*
  • Extinction, Psychological*
  • Fear*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar