Latent inhibition is not context specific & eye tracker demands?

With my new method, I have robust evidence that it produces latent inhibition.  The original goal of that experiment was to show that the eye-tracker can be shown to monitor visual attention in conditioning, validating it with a phenomenon where attention is widely assumed to be operating.   In addition, I sought to assess whether visual attention was restored with a context-change.  That is, latent inhibition is supposed to be context specific, and if it is an attention phenomenon, attention should be restored.

The problem I encountered was that the latent inhibition was not context specific.  This lack of effect was a problem because I have good evidence that the contexts are discriminated.

So, I ran another experiment to ensure that my latent inhibition procedure did not make the stimulus a conditioned inhibitor- and it did not.

At that point, I assumed that some of the visual aspects of the game (e.g., the sensor panel) were becoming associated with the sensors, which according to Wagner (e.g., 1981) as well as McLaren & Mackintosh (2000) would make my latent inhibition context independent.  So, I removed the sensor panel, allowing the sensors to appear only on the background, and ran the experiment again.  The result replicated- latent inhibition was not context specific.  If anything, across the two experiments latent inhibition appears especially present in the different context.

The evidence I have that the contexts are discriminated comes from an experiment on “renewal.”   There, I show that the conditioning is slightly affected by a change in context.  Extinction is faster in a different context.  And I show that extinction is highly context specific. When the extinguished CS is tested outside the context where extinction took place, robust responding is observed.

So- why is my latent inhibition context independent (in other studies I have shown it to be context specific in humans)?   

I noticed the obvious at this point, because I could see nothing else. 

The experiments on renewal were conducted without the eye tracker. 

The experiments on latent inhibition were conducted with the eye tracker.   

Could the eye-tracker be the culprit?  Could it place some demand characteristic on the participant such that context-switch effects disappear in my methods?

I am now concurrently running the latent inhibition experiment, again, but without the eye tracker and the renewal experiments, again, with the eye tracker.  

When I get those data, I’ll be getting all these experiments ready for a formal paper submission and putting them up here.

This entry was posted in Learning Theory, Miscellaneous foreshadowing, The Learning Game and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Latent inhibition is not context specific & eye tracker demands?

  1. BillandCindy says:

    I like getting your updates, but the brain will not process.

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