The influence of associability changes in negative patterning and other discriminations

Peter C. Holland, Jennifer A. Thornton, Lindsey Ciali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Normal rats showed faster learning of a serial negative patterning (NP) discrimination (X+, A+, X→A-) than of a comparable feature negative (FN) discrimination (A+, X→A-). This advantage was absent in rats with lesions of the amygdala central nucleus. Earlier data indicated that this brain lesion interferes with surprise-induced increases in attention specified by the Pearce-Hall model (J. M. Pearce & G. Hall, 1980). In the NP task, but not the FN task, omission of the reinforcer after X on X→A- trials was surprising. A variation of the NP task (NPX), in which X was reinforced on both X+ and X→A-trials, was learned more rapidly than the NP task. Lesioned rats were unimpaired in learning the NPX task. Evaluation of the lesion effects and the results of posttraining transfer tests suggested that the NP advantage involved attentional processes, whereas the NPX advantage was based on the acquisition of inhibitory control by aspects of excitation conditioned to X.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-476
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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