24-04-2020 | Original Article
Perceptual errors are related to shifts in generalization of conditioned responding
Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 4/2021Log in om toegang te krijgen
Studies of perceptual generalization have recently demonstrated a close relationship between stimulus perception and conditioned responding, suggesting that incorrect stimulus perception might account for certain characteristics of generalization gradients. In this study, we investigated whether common phenomena, such as the area and peak shift in conditioned responding, relate to perceptual errors. After a differential conditioning procedure, in which one circle was paired with the presentation of an aversive picture whereas a different-sized circle was not, we combined a generalization test with a three-alternative forced-choice perceptual categorization task where participants had to indicate on every trial whether the presented circle was one of the two circles from the conditioning phase or a different one, after which US-expectancy ratings were collected. The typical peak and area shift were observed when conditioned responses were plotted on a physical dimension. However, when stimulus perception was incorporated generalization gradients diverged from the typical gradient. Both the area and peak shift largely disappeared when accounting for perceptual errors. These findings demonstrate the need to incorporate perceptual mechanisms in associative models.