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Boundary conditions of post-retrieval extinction: a direct comparison of low and high partial reinforcement


Kitamura, H and Johnston, P and Johnson, L and Strodl, E, Boundary conditions of post-retrieval extinction: a direct comparison of low and high partial reinforcement, Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 174 Article 107285. ISSN 1074-7427 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.nlm.2020.107285


Research has shown that a single presentation of the conditioned stimulus prior to extinction training can diminish conditioned responses. However, replication has proven difficult and appears to be limited by boundary conditions. Here we tested the boundary condition of memory strength by comparing the effect of reinforcement rate to assess its role in post-retrieval extinction. Eighty university students had undergone a three-day fear conditioning experiment in which two partial reinforcement schedules (40%, 80%) were applied. The findings indicated that both low and high partial reinforcement groups did not demonstrate recovery of conditioned responses after post-retrieval extinction. In contrast, both groups demonstrated significant recovery to standard extinction with significantly greater recovery in the 80% group relative to the 40% group. Additionally, we found that greater physiological arousal during memory retrieval significantly predicted recovery of fear at test phase. We conclude that when compared to a lower partial reinforcement schedule, a higher partial reinforcement resulted in the formation of a stronger memory as indicated by greater physiological arousal during memory reactivation and recovery of conditioned responses after standard extinction, but that it does not function as a boundary condition of post-retrieval extinction. These data are significant because it is the first study to investigate the effect of varying partial reinforcement schedules on fear recovery and add to the body of literature that continue to identify sources of failure in the application of post-retrieval extinction.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fear conditioning, reconsolidation, memory, learning, partial reinforcement rate, electrodermal activity
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Allied health and rehabilitation science
Research Field:Rehabilitation
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Johnson, L (Associate Professor Luke Johnson)
ID Code:143147
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2021-03-02
Last Modified:2021-09-16

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