Discrimination Reversal Facilitates Contextual Conditioning in Rats’ Appetitive conditioning

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Two experiments were conducted with the goal of exploring the effect of experiencing associative interference upon concurrent learning about conditioned stimuli and contexts in rats’ appetitive conditioning. During the first training phase, two groups of rats received a conditioned stimulus (CS1) followed by food, whereas another conditioned stimulus (CS2) was presented alone. During a second training phase, discrimination was reversed in group R, while it remained the same in group D. A new conditioned stimulus (CS3) was concurrently trained followed by food during this second Phase (Experiment 1). Reversal discrimination did not facilitate concurrent conditioning of the new stimulus, but there was a trend towards facilitation of contextual conditioning, measured by magazine entries in the absence of stimuli, that was confirmed in Experiment 2. These results suggest that the interference treatment may facilitate context conditioning under circumstances and with boundaries that are yet to be established.

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