By Stephen Walker
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Extra resources for Animal Learning: An Introduction
Application of the dual process theory to the startle response of the rat Although the dual process theory of Groves and Thompson (1970) arose from results obtained in spinal cats, in which the sensitization process was prominent, it was applied with some success to an experimental technique commonly used with ordinary laboratory rats. In this the rat is placed in a test chamber which allows for the measurement of overall activity (for instance, by transducers which pick up forces transmitted to the floor of the chamber) and a series of loud tones is sounded.
It was common in his experiments to establish more than one conditioned stimulus at a time, partly since changes of this kind increased the alertness of the animals. Thus a dog might have dilute acid squirted into its mouth after the sound of a metronome, or after the sound of a buzzer, or after the tactile stimulus of a touch on the skin. Now if the metronome is given without the reinforcement, responses to the other two stimuli are extinguished as well (1927, p. 55). Pavlov found it profitable to discuss such cases of interactions between stimuli, as well as spontaneous changes over time, in terms of a labile and diffuse form in inhibitory brain activity.
However, Carew et al. (1972) and Carew and Kandel (1973) demonstrated that, with shorter inter-trial intervals, repeated periods of habituation and recovery do indeed produce faster habituation in the later blocks, in Aplysia, and that after this habituation is still very fast 24 hours later. Thus an appreciable range of behavioural phenomena characteristic of habituation is obtainable in Aplysia, and the essential features can be 49 observed even when the abdominal ganglion is dissected out from the animal for greater ease of electrical recording.
Animal Learning: An Introduction by Stephen Walker