Failure of transfer of occasion setting between extinction contexts
Three experiments with humans, two with a predictive-learning task and one with a behavioral-suppression task, tested whether extinction contexts act as negative occasion setters. Feature-negative occasion setters transfer control to other stimuli that have been occasion set, unlike conditioned inhibitors which affect any stimulus paired with the same outcome. All experiments used an ABC design where the target stimulus was conditioned and extinguished in contexts A and B, respectively, prior to being tested in C. In context C, some participants had also received extinction of another stimulus so that C could be a negative occasion setter and enable extinction performance or be a conditioned in inhibitor and suppress conditioning performance. Extinction in C had no effect on responding to the conditioned and extinguished target stimulus: Equal ABC renewal was observed (E1-E3). Neither did extinction in C affect responding to a non-extinguished CS (E3). There was no evidence of extinction producing occasion setting, nor conditioned inhibition in well-powered studies.