Increased Generalization, Stronger Acquisition, or Reduced Extinction? Investigation of the Mechanisms Underlying the Acquisition-in-Multiple-Contexts Effect

Chao, Wei Jun Marc, and McConnell, Bridget L. (2024) Increased Generalization, Stronger Acquisition, or Reduced Extinction? Investigation of the Mechanisms Underlying the Acquisition-in-Multiple-Contexts Effect. Behavior Therapy. (In Press)

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Abstract

Prior research has demonstrated that conducting acquisition in multiple contexts results in more responding to the point that it can even nullify the benefit of subsequent extinction in multiple contexts on reducing renewal of excitatory responding. The underlying mechanism to explain why this happens has not been systematically examined. Using self-reported expectancy of the outcome, the current study investigates three mechanisms that potentially explain why acquisition in multiple contexts results in more responding – greater generalisation, stronger acquisition learning, or slower extinction learning. Participants (N = 180) received discriminative training with a conditioned stimulus (CS+) and outcome pairing and a CS– → noOutcome pairing in either one or three contexts. This was followed by either extinction treatment in a novel context or no extinction. Finally, testing occurred in the acquisition context, the extinction context, or a novel context. Stronger renewal of extinguished conditioned expectation was observed for participants who received CS+ → Outcome pairings in three contexts relative to one context. There was no effect of the number of contexts on the strength of the excitatory CS+ → Outcome association or degree of inhibitory learning that occurred during extinction. This suggests that generalisation is the mechanism responsible for the adverse impact to extinction learning when acquisition is conducted in multiple contexts.

Item ID: 81710
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1878-1888
Copyright Information: © 2023 Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2024 02:39
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5299 Other psychology > 529999 Other psychology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 100%
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