The Role of Response-Produced and Exteroceptive Feedback in the Attenuation of Fear Over the Course of Avoidance Learning

Michael Cook, Susan Mineka*, Dennis Trumble

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Possible mechanisms mediating fear attenuation over prolonged avoidance learning were examined. In Replication 1, two groups of rats (masters) received 50 or 200 trials of signaled avoidance training. Six groups were yoked to each master group: Three were strictly yoked, and three were yoked only for reinforced conditioned stimulus (CS) presentations (yoked fear conditioning). Of the six groups, two (one strictly yoked and one yoked fear conditioning) received exteroceptive feedback contingent upon the responses of the masters, two received random/noncontingent feedback, and two received no feedback. Fear of the conditioned stimulus (CS), indexed by freezing during the CS, was lowest in the 200-trial masters and in the two 200-trial groups receiving contingent feedback. In Replication 2, which was procedurally identical to Replication 1 except that the master groups received contingent exteroceptive feedback, fear was lowest in the same three groups. These results support the conclusion that the response-produced feedback that an avoidance response provides is responsible for the fear attenuation seen in well-trained avoidance responders. Several hypotheses concerning the effects of feedback in mediating fear attenuation are examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-249
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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