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Overshadowing by fixed- and variable-duration stimuli

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ben Brilot, Dr Domhnall Jennings



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Two experiments investigated the effect of the temporal distribution form of a stimulus on its ability to produce an overshadowing effect. The overshadowing stimuli were either of the same duration on every trial, or of a variable duration drawn from an exponential distribution with the same mean duration as that of the fixed stimulus. Both experiments provided evidence that a variable-duration stimulus was less effective than a fixed-duration cue at overshadowing conditioning to a target conditioned stimulus (CS); moreover, this effect was independent of whether the overshadowed CS was fixed or variable. The findings presented here are consistent with the idea that the strength of the association between CS and unconditioned stimulus (US) is, in part, determined by the temporal distribution form of the CS. These results are discussed in terms of time-accumulation and trial-based theories of conditioning and timing.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jennings DJ; Brilot B; Bonardi C; Mondragon E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology

Year: 2015

Volume: 68

Issue: 3

Pages: 523-542

Print publication date: 01/01/2015

Online publication date: 01/10/2014

Acceptance date: 23/06/2014

Date deposited: 17/12/2015

ISSN (print): 1747-0218

ISSN (electronic): 1747-0226

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2014.960875


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