A model of pavlovian conditioning: Variations in representations of the unconditional stimulus

William J Jacobs, James R. Blackburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


We present a model of Pavlovian excitatory conditioning in which associative strength and malleable central representations of unconditional stimuli determine the strength of conditional responding. Presentation of a conditioned stimulus acts through an experientially determined associative bond to activate a representation of the unconditional stimulus. The activation of the representation produces a conditioned response. A striking feature of the model is its ability to describe changes in conditioned response magnitude in terms of alterations of representations of the unconditional stimulus. Another is its acknowledgement of the capacity of associative bonds to survive behavioral extinction. The model describes much of the data reported from excitatory conditioning experiments and predicts counterintuitive phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-33
Number of pages22
JournalIntegrative Physiological and Behavioral Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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