The gradual extinction of transferred avoidance stimulus functions

Garcia-Guerrero, Santiago, Dickins, Thomas E. ORCID: and Dickins, David W. (2014) The gradual extinction of transferred avoidance stimulus functions. The Psychological Record, 64 (3) . pp. 581-599. ISSN 0033-2933 (doi:10.1007/s40732-014-0062-7)

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We investigated the transfer of conditioned avoidance functions through equivalence relations, and the extinction of these functions, facilitated by verbal prompts. Nine participants acquired three 4-member stimulus equivalence classes using a matching-to-sample procedure. One class stimulus was paired, by classical conditioning, with an aversive tone, which was used in avoidance training of a distinct response. There were two groups: A established the equivalence classes before avoidance training and vice versa for B. During some avoidance trials, each stimulus presentation was followed by the request for a verbal estimation of the probability of the tone. The last trials, run in extinction, included a verbal prompt to corroborate the provided estimation. One participant in each group received no verbal prompts. To negate the necessary reliance on instructions-governed performance, an additional participant completed the experiment with minimal instructions. All participants who had the equivalence training prior to the conditioning showed within-class transfer of avoidance functions, in contrast to the others. All prompted participants who demonstrated transfer showed gradual response extinction, but with a differential gradient. Responding decreased more sharply to the indirectly related stimuli than to the directly paired stimuli. The clinical implications are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Behavioural Biology group
Item ID: 21578
Notes on copyright: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in The Psychological Record. The final authenticated version is available online via Springer at:
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Depositing User: Tom Dickins
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2017 13:18
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2020 13:17

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