The topography of sexually conditioned behaviour: Effects of a trace interval

Chana K. Akins, Michael Domjan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In a trace conditioning procedure, subjects were presented with a 30-sec conditioned stimulus (CS) followed by a 30-sec trace interval. Delayed conditioning consisted of a 60-sec CS presentation followed by an unconditioned stimulus (US). Although conditioning developed with both procedures, the topography of the conditioned response differed. Sexual conditioned approach was evident in all of the subjects during the presentation of the CS. Trace-conditioned subjects moved away from the area where the CS had been presented during the trace interval but remained closer to the CS location than did an unpaired control. This reduction in the spatial specificity of the conditioned response was interpreted from a behaviour systems perspective. The trace interval presumably increased the perceived separation between the CS and the US and therefore elicited conditioned behaviour less specifically directed towards the CS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-356
Number of pages11
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section B: Comparative and Physiological Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Requests for reprints should be sent to Chana K. Akins, Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506 , U..SA. Email: ckakin1 @ This research was conducted at the University of Texas at Austin and supported by National Institute of M ental Health Grant M H39940, M . Dom jan. We thank Bill Brook s for providing quality care for the animals. We also thank M aria Durr for help in scoring videotapes for reliabilit y measures.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


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