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The effect of temporal predictability on habituation : empirical studies and connectionist models


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Daniels, Brett Anthony 1994 , 'The effect of temporal predictability on habituation : empirical studies and connectionist models', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis reviews existing models of habituation of the orienting response
(OR) and presents four experiments designed to clarify contentious issues in the
existing literature. A new connectionist model of habituation is developed and
its performance in various experimental situations simulated.
Models created to account for habituation can be classified into two types:
1)Comparator models in which the subject compares an internal trace of past
stimulation with current stimulation and the orienting response is an index of
the disparity between the two.
2) The dual-process model in which habituation is the result of two
independent processes of inferred habituation and inferred sensitisation acting
within the stimulus-response (S-R) pathway. A major difference between the two types of model is that comparator models
of habituation (Ohman, 1979; Sokolov, 1960; Wagner, 1981) postulate that the
internal trace encodes extrapolatory or temporally predictive information about
the stimulus series, while the dual-process model (Groves & Thompson, 1970)
does not suppose that temporal information is encoded. Both the elicitation of
a response by stimulus omission, and the effect of 1ST variability on the rate of
habituation, are vital indicators of the merit of each approach. Only if both
phenomena are demonstrated to exist must a valid habituation model
incorporate a mechanism of temporal encoding.
Prior evidence for a response to stimulus omission and an effect of 1ST
variability on rate of habituation was inconclusive. Four experiments were
conducted to examine these and related phenomena in habituation of the skin
conductance response (SCR). It was concluded, from the results of these
experiments, that both response to stimulus omission and an effect of ISI variability on the course of habituation had a significant effect at short ISIs (1-
2s) but no significant effect was at longer ISIs (>10s).
A model of OR habituation was devised that was capable of incorporating the
new results as well as other published results. A neural network or
- connectionist modelling framework was chosen for this purpose, for its
quantitative nature, ease of simulation and neurobiological plausibility. Five
different connectionist models were constructed and simulations were
performed to assess the performance of each model in experiments testing
various temporal phenomena. It was concluded that a model incorporating
delta-rule learning of physical features plus learning of temporal relationships
by the learning of the interval between stimuli could most satisfactorily
simulate the observed empirical results. The connectionist models and their
performance in experimental simulations were related to traditional models of

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Daniels, Brett Anthony
Keywords: Orienting reflex, Habituation (Psychophysiology)
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Copyright 1995 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
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Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1995. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 240-254)

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