ABA renewal is greater when extinction occurs in the same context as cue pre-exposure

  • Holmes N
  • Westbrook R
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Renewal has been observed in several protocols. One, termed ABA, trains a conditioned stimulus (CS) in one context, A, extinguishes the CS in a second context, B, and tests either in A or B. We used between- and within-subjects designs in three experiments with rats to study how a history of cue pre-exposure affects extinction and renewal of conditioned fear responses (freezing). In each experiment, a stimulus was pre-exposed in either context B or context C, paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US) in a third context, A, extinguished in B, and finally tested in A. Freezing declined at the same rate when extinction occurred in the same or a different context as pre-exposure in between-subjects designs (Experiments 1 and 2), but declined faster when extinction and pre-exposure occurred in the same than in a different context in a within-subjects design (Experiment 3). In each experiment, renewal of freezing responses in the conditioning context, A, was greater when subjects were tested with the CS extinguished in its pre-exposure context than with the CS extinguished outside its pre-exposure context. The results were interpreted to mean that what was learned about the context–stimulus relation in pre-exposure enhanced control by that context over what was learned in extinction, thereby enhancing renewal when the rats were returned to the conditioning context for testing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Extinction
  • Fear
  • Pre-exposure
  • Rats
  • Renewal

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