Trial and intertrial durations in Pavlovian conditioning: Issues of learning and performance

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Four experiments assessed the effects of trial (T) and intertrial (I) durations on magazine approach behavior in rats. In Experiments 1 and 2, different groups of animals were conditioned with various combinations of I and T durations. The rate of acquisition, in terms of the number of trials required to reach various acquisition criteria, generally was faster in groups trained with large I:T ratios. There also were differences in rate of acquisition and terminal response rates between groups trained with identical I:T ratios but with different absolute I and T durations. Differences evident at the end of conditioning persisted during a common test with various combinations of I and T durations. Experiments 3 and 4 provided a more specific test of the predictions of 2 general classes of theories and found results that were consistent with those theories that characterize group differences as indicative of differences in learning, rather than in performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-450
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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