Poster B17, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Generalization of Conditioned Appetitive Responses in Humans
Marta Andreatta1, Paul Pauli1; 1Department of Psychology, University of Wuerzburg
Aversive conditioned responses (CR) can be generalized to stimuli, which have not been associated with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US, e.g. painful electric shock), but which share properties with the threat-signaling conditioned stimulus (CS). We investigated here, whether similar processes underline generalization of appetitive CR. Twenty-eight healthy participants underwent an appetitive classical conditioning during which a circle (CS+) was paired with an appetitive US (i.e., chocolate or salty pretzel), while another circle (CS-) with different diameter was never paired with the US. During the test phase, CS+ and CS- were presented again as well as four additional circles (generalization stimuli, GS) with gradual diameter from CS+ to CS-. We found successful appetitive conditioning as positive valence, higher appealing and contingency ratings as well as larger skin conductance response (SCR) to CS+ than to CS- indicate. Interestingly, we confirmed for appetitive CRs a positive gradient from CS+ to CS- in all responses. In summary, we found successful appetitive conditioning and generalization of appetitive CRs. Importantly, these mechanisms might be involved in the etiology and maintenance of substance-related disorders or eating disorders.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotional responding