Consciousness and Cognition vol:13 issue:3 pages:439-452
In previous studies, we found that bodily symptoms can be learned in a differential conditioning paradigm, using odors as conditioned stimuli (CSs) and CO2-enriched air as unconditioned stimulus (US). However, this only occurred when the odor CS had a negative valence (a selective conditioning effect), and tended to be more pronounced in persons scoring high for Negative Affectivity (NA). This paper considers the necessity and/or sufficiency of awareness of the CS-US contingency in three studies using this paradigm. The relation between contingency awareness and the selective conditioning effect, and between contingency awareness and NA was also considered. Both self reported symptoms and respiratory physiology served as dependent variables. A learning effect on symptoms was found only for participants aware of the CS-US contingency, but not all participants reporting contingency awareness showed a learning effect. No conditioning effects appeared on the physiological measures. Also contingency awareness did not account for the selective conditioning effect, and did not interact with NA. Overall, the necessity but insufficiency hypotheses can only be withhold for group data and not for individual data.