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Q J Exp Psychol B. 2004 Apr;57(2):97-132.

Experimental extinction in Pavlovian conditioning: behavioural and neuroscience perspectives.

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Psychology Department, Brooklyn College-CUNY, New York 11210, USA.


This paper reviews the behavioural and neuroscience literatures on extinction in Pavlovian conditioning with a view towards finding possible points of contact between these two often independent lines of investigation. Recent discoveries at the behavioural level indicate (1) that conditioned stimulus (CS)-unconditioned stimulus (US) associations specific in their sensory content are fully preserved during extinction, (2) that inhibitory stimulus-response associations appear to be learned during extinction, (3) that extinction is influenced by the level of activation of the US representation during nonreinforced trials, (4) that decreases in attention can influence conditioned performance during extinction, and (5) that contexts acquire an ability to modulate learning during both conditioning and extinction. Recent discoveries at the neural systems level suggest (1) that the hippocampus is important in context-specific learning during extinction, (2) that the prefrontal cortex is possibly important in long-term memory for extinction, (3) that the basolateral amygdala may be important in sustaining attention to a CS during extinction, (4) that NMDA receptors are important either in neural plasticity during extinction or by affecting the value of the US representation during extinction, and (5) that the GABAergic system may partially mediate inhibitory learning during extinction. It is concluded that both of these levels of analysis can benefit the other in the pursuit of a more comprehensive understanding of extinction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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