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Appetitive context conditioning proactively, but transiently, interferes with expression of counterconditioned context fear.

Research paper by Nathan M NM Holmes, R Frederick RF Westbrook

Indexed on: 17 Oct '14Published on: 17 Oct '14Published in: Learning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.)



Abstract

Four experiments used rats to study appetitive-aversive transfer. Rats trained to eat a palatable food in a distinctive context and shocked in that context ate and did not freeze when tested 1 d later but froze and did not eat when tested 14 d later. These results were associatively mediated (Experiments 1 and 2), observed when rats were or were not food deprived (Experiments 1 and 2), and were not due to latent inhibition (Experiment 3). In contrast, rats trained to eat in the context and shocked there 13 d later froze and did not eat when tested 1 d after the shocked exposure. However, rats that received an additional eating session in the context 1 d before the shocked exposure ate and did not freeze when tested 1 d after the shocked exposure (Experiment 4). The results show that appetitive conditioning transiently interferes with aversive conditioning. They are discussed in terms of a weak context-shock association becoming stronger with the lapse of time (so-called fear incubation) or of the interference by the context-food association becoming weaker with the lapse of time.