Kamin blocking

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A phenomenon of selective attention that occurs in classical conditioning, in both human and animal learning of compound cues. The standard demonstration of the effect involves a learning phase in which an experimental group is exposed to a conditioned stimulus A (such as a tone), repeatedly paired with an unconditioned stimulus X (such as shock), and a control group is not exposed to this pairing; then both groups are exposed to a compound stimulus AB composed of A (tone) plus a second conditioned stimulus B (light), repeatedly paired with the same unconditioned stimulus X (shock). The outcome is that when both groups are tested for the strength of the learned association between B (light) and X (shock), which have been paired the same number of times in both groups, a weaker association is found in the experimental group than in the control group. [Named after the US psychologist Leon J. Kamin (born 1927) who first reported it in a book chapter published in 1968]

Subjects: Psychology.

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