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Ambiguity Drives Higher-Order Pavlovian Learning

Zbozinek, Tomislav D. and Pérez, Omar and Wise, Toby and Fanselow, Michael and Mobbs, Dean (2020) Ambiguity Drives Higher-Order Pavlovian Learning. . (Unpublished)

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In the natural world, stimulus-outcome associations are often noisy and ambiguous. Learning to disambiguate these associations to identify which specific outcomes will occur is critical for survival. Pavlovian occasion setters are stimuli that determine whether other stimuli that are ambiguous will result in a specific outcome. Occasion setting is a well-established field, but very little investigation has been conducted on how occasion setters are disambiguated when they themselves are ambiguous. We investigated the role of higher-order Pavlovian occasion setting in humans. We also developed and tested the first computational model predicting direct associations, traditional occasion setting, and 2nd-order occasion setting. Results showed that occasion setters affected ambiguous but not unambiguous lower-order stimuli and that 2nd-order occasion setting was indeed learned. Our computational model demonstrated excellent fit with the data, advancing our theoretical understanding of learning with ambiguity. These results may ultimately improve treatment of Pavlovian-based mental health disorders (e.g., anxiety).

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemSupplementary Materials ItemJournal Article
Zbozinek, Tomislav D.0000-0003-0187-671X
Pérez, Omar0000-0002-4168-5435
Wise, Toby0000-0002-9021-3282
Fanselow, Michael0000-0002-3850-5966
Mobbs, Dean0000-0003-1175-3772
Alternate Title:Ambiguity Drives Higher-Order Learning
Additional Information:License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International. Created: November 23, 2020; Last edited: December 16, 2020. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1911441 granted to Tomislav Zbozinek, PhD under the supervision of Dean Mobbs, PhD and Michael Fanselow, PhD. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Author asserted no Conflict of Interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:2nd-order occasion setting; appetitive conditioning; classical conditioning; computational modeling; occasion setting; Pavlovian conditioning; reinforcement learning; reward learning; second-order occasion setting
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201124-115854570
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Official Citation:Zbozinek, T. D., Perez, O. D., Wise, T., Fanselow, M., & mobbs, d. (2020, November 23). Ambiguity Drives Higher-Order Pavlovian Learning.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106811
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Nov 2020 22:13
Last Modified:26 Jan 2023 01:01

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