Recent evidence indicates that prior learning about a set of cues may determine how new cues are processed.
If subjects are taught that two reliable predictors of an outcome do not summate when the cues are presented
together (i.e., subadditive pretraining), the subjects will tend to show a less profound blocking effect when
trained with different cues. Three experiments investigated the conditions necessary for subadditive pretraining
to generalize to new cues. Experiment 1 demonstrated that subadditive pretraining is less effective in reducing
blocking when it is experienced in a context other than that in which the blocking training is experienced. In
Experiment 2, the effectiveness of subadditive pretraining waned with time. Experiment 3 showed that subad-
ditive pretraining is more effective when the temporal characteristics of pretraining cues are similar to those of
the cues used in blocking training. These results provide information concerning the conditions under which
learning will generalize from one set of cues to another.