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According to psychology, a conditioned response, which is also known as a conditioned reflex is a modified kind of response that is brought about by a certain stimulus. The psychology dictionary defines conditional-response as a learnt response arising from a neutral stimulus. Conditional responses are totally involuntary and uncontrollable. Ivan Pavlov demonstrated conditioned response for the first time. He postulated that the presentation of unconditional stimulus brings about an automatic natural response that he called unconditioned stimulus (US) and the unconditioned response (UR). He, however, noted that if both neutral and unconditioned stimulus are presented together, then it becomes conditional stimulus. According to Pavlov (1927), learning requires incorporation or co-function of these two responses. If a certain organism is used to these two stimuli together, then they become associated, and it is actually possible after some time for that organism to respond to one of the stimuli as it would respond to both. This is what Pavlov referred to the as conditional response.
Extinction, on the other hand, is phenomenon or situation in which an earlier learnt response to a certain stimulus is reduced when that stimulus is presented in the absence of the previously paired stimulus which could be appetitive or aversive. An aversive stimulus is those that induce a behavioural change through some sort of punishment (Pavlov, 1927). By using an aversive immediately after bad behaviour, then the behaviour is unlikely to be repeated. Appetitive stimulus however, induces behaviour change through a rewarding manner. The loss of this response is known as the associated loss theory.
In line to the above mentioned definitions, reinstatement in the restoration or the attempt to return the extinguished conditional responses. The reinstatement of conditioned response can be administered using a differential Pavlovian conditioning procedure. This Pavlovian procedure has two main methods of going about the reinstatement. One of them is the direct way which involves fear rating and the other is an indirect measure which revolves around the secondary reaction time task (Domjan, 1999). Fear-potentiated reaction is a relative increment in the size or the magnitude of the acoustic startled reaction when conducted in the presence of a conditional stimulus that has been paired previously with an aversive unconditional stimulus. This is a well adopted model used to study fear translationally as the model can clearly measure fear generating a non-zero baseline and what makes it even more adoptable is the fact that it can offer cross-species generalization (Pavlov, 1927).
Conditioning of the secondary reaction time task
In the second method which involves evaluation of the conditioning of the secondary reaction time task, there is a great correlation between the valence found between conditioned stimulus (CS) + and (CS) -and the reaction time task. Clear experimental evidence in the Pavlovian procedure shows that it is actually possible for a reinstatement to occur after extinction without necessarily training the subject again (Domjan, 1999). The success of this method relies greatly on the role of the negative stimulus valence to evaluate the effective reinstatement of conditioned responses after extinction has occurred. These two methods have been proven scientifically and therefore are among the best ways known to date of reinstating conditioned response on subjects following extinction without having to retrain them.
Domjan, J. (1999). “Principles of Learning and Behaviour.” Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pavlov, I. (1927). “Conditional Reflexes”. New York: Dover Publications.