Effects of exposure to a to-be-shocked environment upon the rat's freezing response: evidence for facilitation, latent inhibition, and perceptual learning

Q J Exp Psychol B. 1993 Aug;46(3):271-88. doi: 10.1080/14640749308401089.


Three experiments used the freezing response of rats to examine the effects of pre-exposure to an environment upon (1) its associability with shock and (2) its discriminability from a second environment. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated that freezing was proportional to the interval between exposure to the environment at time T1 and the occurrence of shock at T2. This function was shifted by pre-exposure to the to-be-shocked environment, with brief pre-exposures increasing (facilitation) and extended pre-exposures decreasing (latent inhibition) the impact of a given T1-T2 interval on freezing. Experiment 3 provided evidence that the facilitatory and latent inhibitory effects resulting from brief and extended exposures to the to-be-shocked environment were accompanied by an increase in discriminability. The results were taken to have supported the claim that pre-exposure changes associability as well as discriminability (Hall & Honey, 1989) and were discussed in terms of the model for perceptual learning proposed by McLaren, Kaye, and Mackintosh (1990).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Conditioning, Classical*
  • Cues
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Electroshock*
  • Immobilization*
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar