Effect of discriminative Pavlovian fear conditioning on subsequent discriminative avoidance acquisition in the goldfish (Carassius auratus)



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180 goldfish were given discriminative Pavlovian fear conditioning to red and green colors and tested for transfer of training with reinforced discriminative avoidance acquisition tasks involving different combinations of red, green, and yellow colors. Mass conditioning was employed in all cases. Results indicated that: 1) Fish had a strong color preference hierarchy of green > yellow>red which was not altered by fear pretraining. 2) Prior fear conditioning affected subsequent avoidance acquisition in the expected direction and relatively permanently. Consistent discriminative transfer groups performed significantly better than inconsistent discriminative transfer groups. However, neither were significantly different from control. 3) Control performances tended to be worse than both experimental performances on Day 1 and fluctuated erratically overlapping both experimental groups thereafter. 4) There were indications that experimental Ss did not merely learn 'CS+ CS-' as a unit, but were able to avoid CS to any other color, and approach CS from any other color. This latter ability also meant that CS- had become affectively positive for the Ss.



Classical conditioning, Avoidance (Psychology), Goldfish--Behavior