Rapid reaquisition in conditioning of the rabbit's nictitating membrane response

J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 1992 Apr;18(2):182-92. doi: 10.1037//0097-7403.18.2.182.


Reacquisition after extinction often appears faster than original acquisition. However, data from conditioned suppression studies indicate that this effect may arise from spontaneous recovery and reinstatement of unextinguished contextual stimuli related to the unconditioned stimulus (US). In the present experiments using the rabbit nictitating membrane preparation, spontaneous recovery was eradicated before reaquisition training. US contextual stimuli were controlled by retaining the US during extinction through explicit unpairings of the conditioned stimulus (CS) and US. Attempts were also made to drive the associative strength of the CS into the inhibitory region by differential conditioning and conditioned inhibition procedures. In all cases, reacquisition was very rapid in comparison with a rest control. The results are discussed with respect to their implications for CS and US processing models of conditioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning
  • Attention
  • Conditioning, Classical*
  • Conditioning, Eyelid*
  • Extinction, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Rabbits
  • Retention, Psychology*