Title

Manipulation of Components of Context: The Context Shift Effect and Forgetting of Stimulus Attributes

Publication Title

Learning and Motivation

Publication Date

12-1996

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1006/lmot.1996.0023

Keywords

context shift effect, forgetting, stimulus attributes

Disciplines

Psychology

Abstract

Seventy-two Sprague-Dawley rats were used to investigate the multidimensional features of the context shift effect and the forgetting of stimulus attributes in a Pavlovian differential fear conditioning paradigm. One day after training, a change in either conditioning box or room context resulted in substantial decrements in performance similar to that induced by a shift of both box and room contexts. Two weeks after training, a shift of either box or room context exerted no significant detrimental effects on responding. However, a combined shift of both box and room contexts still induced a severe performance deficit. These results suggest that changes in various components of the stimulus context can result in similar retention deficits, that several aspects of stimulus attributes are forgotten over a delay, and that changing several aspects of the stimulus complex can synergistically impair performance.

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