Mechanisms of contextual control: The role of cue-outcome associations in renewal
The renewal effect is the recovery of an extinguished response that occurs when the target stimulus is presented outside of the extinction context. Renewal is relevant because it offers an explanation for relapse, which is frequent after exposure-based treatments. The renewal effect thus shows that...
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|Zusammenfassung:||The renewal effect is the recovery of an extinguished response that occurs when the target stimulus is presented outside of the extinction context. Renewal is relevant because it offers an explanation for relapse, which is frequent after exposure-based treatments. The renewal effect thus shows that the original problematic behavior will recover when the patient leaves the treatment context. Due to this problem some manipulations have been experimentally examined, that could potentially prevent relapse. Bouton (1991) suggested that conducting extinction in multiple contexts, and the use of retrieval cues for extinction, could be useful in preventing relapse. The present work examined the associative mechanisms of both manipulations. Contemporary learning theories can be divided in two classes of mechanisms. The Rescorla-Wagner model, for instance, sees the context as another CS that can enter into a direct association with the US. Bouton’s retrieval model assumes on the other hand that contextual cues modulate the retrieval of the complete CS-US association. To differentiate between both accounts this work was based on previous studies that manipulated the associative history of contextual cues to examine their associative mechanisms. The first part of the thesis examined the effect of extinction in multiple contexts on renewal when additional excitatory trials are presented in the extinction context. The second part examined the effect of retrieval cues on renewal when the associative history of each retrieval cue is manipulated. The results showed that a direct association with the US is not necessary for both manipulations to attenuate renewal. Thus, the results of the present studies are consistent with the idea that both contexts and retrieval cues help recall the memory of the CS-US association.|