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Can existing associative principles explain occasion setting? Some old idea and some new data

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Domhnall Jennings



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


Since occasion setting was identified as a type of learningindependent of 'simple' associative processes, a great deal of researchhas explored how occasion setters are established and operate. Initialtheories suggested that they exert hierarchical control over a targetCS→US association, facilitating the ease with which a CS can activate theUS representation and elicit the CR. Later approaches proposed thatoccasion setting arises from an association between a configural cue,formed from the conjunction of the occasion setter and CS, and the US.The former solution requires the associative principles dictating howstimuli interact to be modified, while the latter does not. The historyof this theoretical distinction, and evidence relating to it, will bebriefly reviewed and some novel data presented. In summary, although thecontribution of configural processes to learning phenomena is not indoubt, configural theories must make many assumptions to accommodate theexisting data, and there are certain classes of evidence that they arelogically unable to explain. Our contention is therefore that some kindof hierarchical process is required to explain occasion-setting effects.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bonardi C, Robinson J, Jennings DJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Behavioural Processes

Year: 2017

Volume: 137

Pages: 5-18

Print publication date: 01/04/2017

Online publication date: 15/07/2016

Acceptance date: 08/07/2016

Date deposited: 28/07/2016

ISSN (print): 0376-6357

ISSN (electronic): 1872-8308

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2016.07.007


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