Blocking in the Morris Swimming Pool
AbstractFour experiments demonstrate that spatial blocking is governed by the same principles that govern blocking in Pavlovian conditioning. In the 2nd stage of each experiment, rats escaped from a Morris swimming pool by swimming to a submerged platform with a beacon attached to it. Test trials were then conducted in the absence of the platform and the beacon to assess the extent to which subjects had learned about the position of the platform with reference to the room cues. For the 1st stage of their training, rats either swam to the platform and beacon in the presence of curtains that prevented the room cues from being seen (Experiments 1 & 2), or they swam to the platform and beacon that were moved from trial to trial (Experiments 3 & 4). In each experiment, learning about the room cues in the 2nd stage of the experiment was blocked by the presence of the beacon. This blocking effect was disrupted by changing the appearance of the beacon for the 2nd stage of training or by restricting the amount of exposure to the beacon during the 1st phase of training.