Skip to content
Journal article

Sources of relapse after extinction in Pavlovian and instrumental learning

Bouton M, Brooks C, Nelson B, Ricker S, Peck C, Boyle S, Roche B, Dymond S, Hermans D, Blechert J, Michael T, Vriends N, Margraf J, Wilhelm F, Alvarez R, Johnson L, Grillon C, Bouton M, Winterbauer N, Todd T, Borkovec T, Sides J, Bouton M, Baas J, Nugent M, Lissek S, Pine D, Grillon C, Bouton M, Westbrook R, Corcoran K, Maren S, Swartzentruber D, Balooch S, Neumann D, Boschen M, Delgado M, Nearing K, LeDoux J, Phelps E ...see all

Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 11, issue 4 (2004) pp. 2019-2033 Published by Elsevier B.V.

  • 1


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • N/A


    Citations of this article.
  • N/A


    ScienceDirect users who have downloaded this article.
Sign in to save reference


Extinction may be related to therapeutic procedures designed to eliminate unwanted thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. This article reviews animal learning research which suggests that extinction does not erase the original learning, but rather makes behavior especially sensitive to the background, or context, in which it occurs. Context-dependence of responding is evident after extinction in both Pavlovian and instrumental (operant) learning. In either case, memories of conditioning and extinction are both retained through extinction, and are available for retrieval by appropriate retrieval cues. When the context promotes retrieval of extinction, extinction performance is observed. But when the context is changed, or when the current context promotes retrieval of conditioning, conditioning performance is often restored. These effects are produced by contexts provided by stimuli as diverse as physical environments, reinforcer after-effects, drug states, emotions, and the passage of time. The results have implications for relapse, and its prevention, following therapy. © 1991.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Conditioning
  • Context
  • Contingency awareness
  • Evaluative conditioning
  • Exposure therapy
  • Extinction
  • Instrumental (operant) learning
  • Pavlovian differential fear conditioning
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Reacquisition
  • Relapse
  • Renewal
  • Resurgence
  • Return of fear
  • Skin conductance
  • Therapy
  • US-expectancy bias
  • Virtual reality
  • anxiety
  • avoidance
  • behavioral mechanisms
  • brain mechanisms
  • classical conditioning
  • conditioned
  • context conditioning
  • cr
  • cs
  • extinction
  • fear conditioning
  • generalisation
  • of
  • over a century ago
  • pavlov showed that adjusting
  • psychophysiology
  • semantic generalisation
  • startle
  • stimulus
  • the conditioned response
  • the frequency of a
  • tone used as a

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Mark E. Bouton

  • Cody Brooks

  • Byron Nelson

  • Sean Ricker

  • Charles a. Peck

  • Sean Boyle

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below