Context excitation and modulation of conditioned sexual behavior

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12 Scopus citations


Three experiments were conducted to investigate direct and modulatory influences of context in the conditioned sexual behavior of male Japanese quail. A preference test procedure was used to assess the acquisition of contextual excitation. In Experiment 1, following direct context- unconditioned stimulus (US) pairings, male quail shifted their contextual preference from an initially preferred context to one in which they received copulatory opportunity with a female quail (US). Unpaired control group subjects did not demonstrate this shift in preference. This place preference procedure was used in Experiments 2 and 3 to assess contextual excitation when context was trained in the presence of a discrete conditioned stimulus (CS). Experiment 2 provided evidence that context can modulate responding to a discrete CS. In Experiment 3, we varied the spatial contiguity between the context and the US. Some subjects received the US directly in the training context, whereas other subjects received the US in an alternate context. Contextual excitation was evident only in subjects that received the former. Thus, there is a dissociation between the modulatory and excitatory properties of context in sexual conditioning that may depend on the context- US spatial contiguity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-426
Number of pages11
JournalAnimal Learning and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Psychology (all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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