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conditioned emotional response


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A phenomenon of conditioning (1) that occurs when a baseline behaviour such as lever pressing for food reward is established at a stable rate of responding, then a long-lasting conditioned stimulus (such as a 90-second tone) is presented and terminates with the presentation of an aversive unconditioned stimulus (such as a brief electric shock). After several such pairings of conditioned and unconditioned stimulus, the organism suppresses responding during the conditioned stimulus presentation, even though the food reward is still available in response to lever pressing and is completely independent of the tone-shock pairing, the usual interpretation being that the conditioned stimulus (tone) elicits a conditioned response (fear) that is incompatible with the suppressed behaviour (feeding). Also called conditioned suppression. CER abbrev.

Subjects: Psychology.


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