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J Exp Psychol Gen. 2006 Feb;135(1):92-102.

Reasoning rats: forward blocking in Pavlovian animal conditioning is sensitive to constraints of causal inference.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Binghamton University, State University of New York, NY, USA. tom.beckers@psy.kuleuven.be

Abstract

Forward blocking is one of the best-documented phenomena in Pavlovian animal conditioning. According to contemporary associative learning theories, forward blocking arises directly from the hardwired basic learning rules that govern the acquisition or expression of associations. Contrary to this view, here the authors demonstrate that blocking in rats is flexible and sensitive to constraints of causal inference, such as violation of additivity and ceiling considerations. This suggests that complex cognitive processes akin to causal inferential reasoning are involved in a well-established Pavlovian animal conditioning phenomenon commonly attributed to the operation of basic associative processes.

PMID:
16478318
PMCID:
PMC1839055
DOI:
10.1037/0096-3445.135.1.92
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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