Formation of excitatory and inhibitory associations between absent events.

Peter C. Holland, Andrew Sherwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Considerable evidence indicates that associations may be formed between two events even when one or both of them is absent at the time of learning. Previously, some researchers asserted that excitatory associations are formed when associatively activated representations for two events are paired, whereas others claimed that inhibitory associations are formed. In three experiments, the authors investigated the nature of tone-sucrose learning when associatively activated representations of those events were paired in the absence of either of the events themselves. Experiment 1 found substantial excitatory learning when the tone surrogate preceded the sucrose surrogate in training. Experiment 2 evaluated other accounts for the results of Experiment 1, and Experiment 3 found evidence for inhibitory tone-sucrose learning when the tone and sucrose surrogates were presented in simultaneous or backward order. The results indicated that the nature of representation-mediated learning is influenced by some of the same variables as more standard associative learning. (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-335
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of experimental psychology. Animal behavior processes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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