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Contextual control of biconditional task performance: Evidence for cue and response competition in rats

Haddon, Josephine Elizabeth, George, David Noel and Killcross, Andrew Simon 2008. Contextual control of biconditional task performance: Evidence for cue and response competition in rats. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 61 (9) , pp. 1307-1320. 10.1080/17470210701515819

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A novel paradigm is presented that was designed to mimic aspects of cue and response competition seen in humans in conflict procedures such as the Stroop task. Rats were trained simultaneously on two biconditional discrimination tasks, one auditory and one visual, in two different contexts: C1, in which A1:LP1 → R, A2:LP2 → R; and C2, in which V1:LP1 → R, V2:LP2 → R, where C1/C2 represent different training contexts (produced by different operant chambers), A1/A2 are different auditory cues, V1/V2 are different visual cues, LP1/LP2 are discrete operant responses, and R is reward. At test, rats received presentations of audiovisual compounds of these training stimuli in extinction. These compounds had dictated either the same (A1V1 or A2V2) or different (A1V2 or A2V1) responses during training: termed congruent and incongruent trials, respectively. Experiment 1 showed that following equal training on the two biconditional tasks, the contextual cues came to control responding to conflicting information provided by incongruent stimulus compounds such that animals responded according to the stimulus element previously trained in that test context. Experiment 2 demonstrated that differential training on the biconditional discriminations (with rats receiving training on the two discriminations in the ratio 31) resulted in greater interference from the overtrained task when animals were tested in the undertrained context. This finding is similar to the classic Stroop asymmetry seen in human performance whereby dominant word reading interferes with colour naming for incongruent colour–word compounds. Further analysis also revealed some evidence for a reverse Stroop effect in which the undertrained stimulus element interfered with performance on the overtrained task.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1747-0218
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 08:19

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