Saturday, September 9, 2017

The role of contingency awareness in classical conditioning experiments using human subjects is currently under debate. This study took a novel approach to manipulating contingency awareness in a differential Pavlovian conditioning paradigm. Complex sine wave gratings were used as visual conditional stimuli (CS). By manipulating the fundamental spatial frequency of the displays, we were able to construct pairs of stimuli that varied in discriminability. One group of subjects was given an "easy" discrimination, and another was exposed to a "difficult" CS+ and CS-. A 3rd group was exposed to a stimulus that was paired with the unconditional stimulus (UCS) 50% of the time and served as a control. Skin conductance response (SCR) and continuous UCS expectancy data were measured concurrently throughout the experiment.

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