Amer psychological assoc/educational publishing foundation
Journal of experimental psychology-general vol:135 issue:1 pages:92-102
Forward blocking is one of the best-documented phenomena in Pavlovian animal conditioning. According to contemporary associative learning theories, forward blocking arises directly from the hardwired basic learning rules that govern the acquisition or expression of associations. Contrary to this view, here the authors demonstrate that blocking in rats is flexible and sensitive to constraints of causal inference, such as violation of additivity and ceiling considerations. This suggests that complex cognitive processes akin to causal inferential reasoning are involved in a well-established Pavlovian animal conditioning phenomenon commonly attributed to the operation of basic associative processes.