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The effect of the amount of blocking cue training on blocking of appetitive conditioning in mice.

Sanderson, D.J. and Jones, W.S. and Austen, J.M. (2016) 'The effect of the amount of blocking cue training on blocking of appetitive conditioning in mice.', Behavioural processes., 122 . pp. 36-42.


Conditioning of a target cue is blocked when it occurs in compound with another cue (blocking cue) that has already received conditioning. Although blocking of appetitive conditioning is commonly used in rodents as a test of selective learning, it has been demonstrated rarely in mice. In order to investigate the conditions that result in blocking in mice two studies tested the effect of the extent of prior blocking cue training on blocking of appetitive conditioning. Mice received either 80 or 200 trials of blocking cue training prior to compound conditioning. A control group received only compound training. Experiment 1 assessed the ability of a visual cue to block conditioning to an auditory target cue. Exposure to the context and the unconditioned stimulus, sucrose pellets, was equated across groups. Blocking was evident in mice that received 200, but not 80 training trials with the visual blocking cue. Responding to the blocking cue was similar across groups. Experiment 2 assessed the ability of an auditory cue to block conditioning to a visual target cue. Blocking was evident in mice trained with 80 and 200 auditory blocking cue trials. The results demonstrate that the strength of blocking in mice is dependent on the modality and experience of the blocking cue. Furthermore, prolonged training of the blocking cue after asymptotic levels of conditioned responding have been reached is necessary for blocking to occur under certain conditions suggesting that the strength of conditioned responding is a limited measure of learning.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Blocking, Conditioning, Learning, Memory, Mice.
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
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Publisher statement:© 2015 Z. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Date accepted:04 November 2015
Date deposited:18 November 2015
Date of first online publication:10 November 2015
Date first made open access:No date available

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