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01-12-2005 | Uitgave 6/2005

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 6/2005

Stimulus Over-selectivity in Rats

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 6/2005
Auteurs:
Evelyn Gibson, Phil Reed
The present study explored whether a similar phenomenon to stimulus over-selectivity occurred in rats, in the hope of establishing a non-human model for the autism. Rats were serially presented with two-15 seconds, two-element compound stimuli prior to the delivery of food, in an appetitive classical conditioning procedure. Each compound stimulus consisted of two lights. Once the rats had acquired a conditioned response (CR) to the stimuli, they were presented with each of the component elements separately in extinction. The rats demonstrated greater conditioning to components of the compound presented just prior to reinforcement than to the components of the temporally distant compound. However, there was a smaller difference between CRs to the components of the compound presented just prior to reinforcement (i.e. less overshadowing) than between the components of the temporally distant compound. It is suggested that rats demonstrated a form of stimulus over-selectivity, resulting in greater overshadowing of one cue by another. Such results may form the basis of a viable non-human model of this symptom of autistic spectrum disorder.

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