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

Kitamura, H, Johnston, P, Johnson, L and Strodl, E 2020 , 'Boundary conditions of post-retrieval extinction: a direct comparison of low and high partial reinforcement' , Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, vol. 174 , doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2020.107285.

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

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Kitamura, H and Johnston, P and Johnson, L and Strodl, E
Keywords: fear conditioning, reconsolidation, memory, learning, partial reinforcement rate, electrodermal activity
Journal or Publication Title: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Publisher: Academic Press Inc Elsevier Science
ISSN: 1074-7427
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.nlm.2020.107285
Copyright Information:

© 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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