Contextual Renewal and Awareness: Dissociating awareness within an electrodermal conditioning paradigm.


This paper explores two current issues in human conditioning: It addresses whether human Pavlovian conditioning is the product of a single propositional system (Mitchell, De Houwer, & Lovibond, 2009) or dual-systems; one propositional in nature and dependent on logical reasoning, the other functional, link-based, and dependent on statistical contingency (McLaren, Green, & Mackintosh, 1994). Additionally, the current experiment provides insight into the processes underlying both A-B-A and A-B-C contextual renewal in humans; a process that is often explained using functional (Bouton, 2004; Pearce, 2002) or propositional (Havermans, Keuker, Lataster, & Jansen, 2005) accounts. Participants were exposed to an electrodermal contextual renewal paradigm in a bi-conditional design, whilst measures of both conscious expectancy and autonomic skin response were collected. Our results demonstrated that, despite successful acquisition and extinction for both measures, contextual renewal was only observed for conscious expectancy in the A-B-A renewal condition.

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