Latent inhibition

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Reviews the latent inhibition literature concerning the decremental effects of nonreinforced preexposure to the to-be-conditional stimulus on subsequent learning. Latent inhibition is found to be a broadly based phenomenon appearing across a variety of species (goldfish, goat, sheep, rat, rabbit, dog, human child, and, under special conditions, the human adult) and across a variety of tasks (classical conditioning, avoidance conditioning, Ivanov-Smolensky conditioning, conditioned emotional response, go/no-go discrimination, reaction time, and conditioned taste aversion paradigms). The stability of latent inhibition as well as its stimulus specificity and the effects of number of nonreinforced preexposures are examined. Current explanations of latent inhibition which include the habituation of the orienting response, selective filtering, specific antagonistic and complementary responses, and conditioned inhibition are discussed. The need for a combined learning and attention theory is suggested. (64 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-407
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1973


  • nonreinforced exposure to to-be-conditional stimulus, decremental effects on subsequent learning, review of latent inhibition literature


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