International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 4 Num. 3 - November 2004


Transfer of Latent Inhibition of Aversively Conditioned Autonomic Responses Through Equivalence Classes [Transferencia a Trav?s de Clases de Equivalencia de la Inhibici?n Latente de Respuestas Aut?nomas Establecidas por Condicionamiento Aversivo]

Volume 4 Num. 3 - November 2004 - Pages 605-622


Miguel Rodr?guez Valverde, Carmen Luciano Soriano, Olga Guti?rrez Mart?nez, and M?nica Hern?ndez L?pez


The present paper briefly presents a novel experimental preparation for the study of the transfer/transformation of respondent functions. Specifically, this study deals with the transfer of latent inhibition. Latent inhibition takes place as a result of the preexposure of the to-be-conditioned stimulus prior to conditioning [repeated presentation of the conditioned stimulus (CS) in the absence of the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), prior to CS-UCS pairings]. This study attempts to see whether such an effect can be obtained when the preexposed stimulus is not the to-be-conditioned-stimulus, but a stimulus in an equivalence relation with the CS. After the formation of two equivalence classes (A1-B1-C1 and A2-B2-C2) 4 subjects were preexposed to A1, whereas the other 4 were preexposed to a novel unrelated stimulus. Subsequently all 8 participants underwent aversive differential conditioning with C1 as the CS+, C3 as the CS- and mild electric shock as the UCS. Conditioned emotional responses were recorded as heart rate (HR) variations. Three of the four subjects preexposed to the novel unrelated stimulus showed larger HR responses to the CS+ (C1) than to the CS-. No subject preexposed to A1 showed differential conditioned responses to C1. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for the understanding of human emotional responding and the etiology of human fears and phobias

Key words:

Transfer of functions, aversive respondent conditioning, heart rate, latent inhibition, stimulus preexposure, equivalence relations, Relational Frame Theory, fears, phobias, biological preparedness

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