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Reducing spontaneous recovery and reinstatement of operant performance through extinction-cues

Bernal-Gamboa, Rodolfo, Gámez, A. Matías, Nieto, Javier
Behavioural processes 2017 v.135 pp. 1-7
animal behavior, models, rats, training (animals)
It has been argued that the response recovery effects share a common mechanism. A possible way to test it is evaluating whether the techniques that impaired renewal would impair the other recovery effects as well. Two experiments with rats used a free operant procedure to explore whether an extinction-cue could prevent the spontaneous recovery and reinstatement of an extinguished lever-pressing. Both experiments consisted of four phases: Acquisition, Extinction and Test 1 and Test 2. First, all rats were trained to perform one instrumental response (R1) for food in context A, and a different instrumental response (R2) for food in context B. Then, responses were extinguished within the same context: R1 in context A and R2 in context B. Throughout this phase all rats received brief presentations of a tone (extinction-cue). In both experiments animals were tested twice. The first test was conducted immediately after the last extinction session. In this test, rats received the extinction-cue for both responses. During the second test, rats experienced the tone only for R1. In Experiment 1 rats were tested after 5days, while for Experiment 2 test 2 took place after a single session of re-exposure to the food. Both experiments showed a recovery effect (spontaneous recovery in Experiment 1 and reinstatement in Experiment 2) for both responses. However, a cue featured in extinction attenuated recovery of R1 in both experiments when presented on the test. The findings suggest that spontaneous recovery, reinstatement and renewal might share a common mechanism. In addition, the present data shows that using an extinction-cue could help to reduces relapsing of voluntary behaviors.