Protection from extinction

Learn Behav. 2003 May;31(2):124-32. doi: 10.3758/bf03195975.


The effect of the presence of a conditioned inhibitor on extinction of excitatory conditioning was studied in one magazine approach and three autoshaping experiments using rats and pigeons. In each case, the presence of an inhibitor reduced responding to an exciter during extinction but allowed substantial recovery of responding to that exciter when subsequently tested separately. Control stimuli with a history of being irrelevant to reinforcement or being nonreinforced had less of a protective effect. This constitutes a clear demonstration of protection from extinction, a phenomenon of substantial theoretical and applied importance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning
  • Columbidae
  • Conditioning, Classical*
  • Extinction, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reinforcement, Psychology