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Psychophysiology. 1996 Nov;33(6):698-710.

Affective learning: awareness and aversion.

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Department of Clinical and Physiological Psychology, University of Giessen, Germany.


In two studies, we investigated the influence of aversive and nonaversive reinforcers on startle reactivity, visceral responses, and self-report during Pavlovian conditioning. Furthermore, we assessed how awareness of the stimulus contingencies affect conditioned discrimination in the different response systems. Conditioned potentiation of the startle response was only observed in the context of aversive learning. Moreover, blink potentiation occurred without awareness of the relationship between the conditioned and unconditioned stimulus. In contrast, skin conductance conditioning was independent of the aversiveness of the reinforcer and was only obtained for those individuals who could correctly verbalize the stimulus contingency in a postconditioning recognition test. Cardiac responses varied with the task demands of the situation and covaried with individual response stereotypes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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