James C. Denniston

Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, United States

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Publications (19)24.77 Total impact

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    James C Denniston, Ralph R Miller
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    ABSTRACT: This paper reviews research designed to investigate the temporal control of inhibitory responding using rats as subjects. One area of investigation has focused on the role of temporal variables in conditioned inhibition produced using Pavlov's [Pavlov, I.P., 1927. Conditioned Reflexes. Oxford University Press, London, 430 pp.] procedure. These studies have found that evidence of conditioned inhibition obtained by negative summation testing is strongest when the conditioned inhibitor signals the omission of the unconditioned stimulus (US) at the same temporal location as a transfer excitor signals presentation of the US [e.g., Barnet, R.C., Miller, R.R., 1996. Temporal encoding as a determinant of inhibitory control. Learn. Motiv. 27, 73-91]. Similarly, retardation of acquisition of behavioral control by a previously inhibitory conditioned stimulus (CS) is maximal when the inhibitory CS is paired with the US at the same temporal location as the inhibitor had previously signaled US omission [Burger, D., Denniston, J.C., Miller, R.R., 2001. Temporal coding in condition inhibition: retardation tests. Anim. Learn. Behav. 29, 281-290]. Other lines of research designed to assess the associative structure of temporal control of inhibition [e.g., Denniston, J.C., Blaisdell, A.P., Miller, R.R., 2004. Temporal control in conditioned inhibition: analysis of associative structure of inhibition. J. Exp. Psychol. Anim. Behav. Process. 30, 190-202] are reviewed, as is the assessment of temporal control of inhibition produced through extinction [Denniston, J.C., Miller, R.R., 2003. The role of temporal variables in inhibition produced through extinction. Learn. Behav. 31, 35-48]. These collective observations are discussed in terms of the temporal coding hypothesis [Matzel, L.D., Held, F.P., Miller, R.R., 1988. Reexamination of simultaneous and backward conditioning: Implications for contiguity theory. Learn. Motiv. 19, 317-344].
    Behavioural Processes 03/2007; 74(2):274-85. · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Three experiments examined human processing of stimuli as predictors and causes. In Experiments 1A and 1B, two serial events that both preceded a third were assessed as predictors and as causes of the third event. Instructions successfully provided scenarios in which one of the serial (target) stimuli was viewed as a strong predictor but as a weak cause of the third event. In Experiment 2, participants' preexperimental knowledge was drawn upon in such a way that two simultaneous antecedent events were processed as predictors or causes, which strongly influenced the occurrence of overshadowing between the antecedent events. Although a tendency toward overshadowing was found between predictors, reliable overshadowing was observed only between causes, and then only when the test question was causal. Together with other evidence in the human learning literature, the present results suggest that predictive and causal learning obey similar laws, but there is a greater susceptibility to cue competition in causal than predictive attribution.
    Learning & Behavior 06/2005; 33(2):184-96. · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    James C Denniston, Aaron P Blaisdell, Ralph R Miller
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    ABSTRACT: Two experiments with rats as subjects were conducted to investigate the associative structure of temporal control of conditioned inhibition through posttraining manipulation of the training excitor-unconditioned stimulus (US) temporal relationship. Experiment 1 found that following simultaneous Pavlovian inhibition training (i.e., A --> US/XA-no US) in which a conditioned stimulus (CS A) was established as a delay excitor, maximal inhibition was observed on a summation test when CS X was compounded with a delay transfer CS. Furthermore, posttraining shifts in the A-US temporal relationship from delay to trace resulted in maximal inhibition of a trace transfer CS. Experiment 2 found complementary results to Experiment 1 with an A-US posttraining shift from serial to simultaneous. These results suggest that temporal control of inhibition is mediated by the training excitor-US temporal relationship.
    Journal of Experimental Psychology Animal Behavior Processes 07/2004; 30(3):190-202. · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    James C Denniston, Ralph R Miller
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    ABSTRACT: In two experiments with rats as subjects, the temporal characteristics of inhibition produced through extinction were investigated. Each experiment established two independent signals for unconditioned stimulus presentation, one trace and one delay. Following initial training, either the trace or the delay conditioned stimulus (CS) was massively extinguished. In Experiment 1, a summation test established that an extinguished delay CS (but not a neutral CS) passed a summation test with a delay, but not with a trace, transfer excitor, and an extinguished trace CS (but not a neutral CS) passed a summation test with a trace, but not with a delay, transfer excitor. In Experiment 2, a retardation test showed retarded behavioral control by an extinguished delay CS when the CS was retrained as a delay CS, but not as a trace CS, and by an extinguished trace CS when the CS was retrained as a trace CS, but not as a delay CS. The results are discussed in terms of contemporary theories of extinction.
    Learning & Behavior 03/2003; 31(1):35-48. · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Four experiments using rats as subjects investigated the claim of Williams (1996) that cue competition results from an associative acquisition deficit, rather than a performance deficit. In Experiment 1, extinction of an overshadowing stimulus following overshadowing treatment increased responding to the overshadowed stimulus, thereby replicating prior observations with new parameters. In Experiment 2, an overshadowed stimulus failed to support second-order conditioning unless the overshadowing stimulus received prior extinction treatment. Experiment 3 replicated the recovery from overshadowing effect seen in Experiment 1 using a sensory preconditioning procedure. Most important, in Experiment 4 an overshadowed stimulus failed to block conditioned responding to a novel CS, but blocking by the overshadowed cue was observed following posttraining extinction of the overshadowing stimulus. These results, as well as those of Williams, are discussed in terms of traditional and more recent acquisition-focused models as well as an extension of the comparator hypothesis (Denniston, Savastano, & Miller, 2001).
    Learning and Motivation. 01/2003;
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    James C Denniston, Raymond C Chang, Ralph R Miller
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    ABSTRACT: Two experiments with rats as subjects investigated whether massive extinction can attenuate the renewal effect. Experiment 1 investigated whether moderate or massive extinction could prevent the return of conditioned responding following Pavlovian conditioning in Context A, extinction in Context B, and subsequent testing in Context C (i.e., ABC renewal). Experiment 2 examined whether massive extinction could prevent renewal following training in Context A, extinction in Context B, and testing in Context A (i.e., ABA renewal). Both experiments observed attenuated renewal following massive, but not moderate extinction. Results are discussed in terms of contemporary theories of extinction.
    Learning and Motivation. 01/2003;
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    Daniel C. Burger, James C. Denniston, Ralph R. Miller
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    ABSTRACT: Two lick suppression experiments with rats were conducted in order to determine the nature of the temporal information that is encoded as a result of Pavlovian conditioned inhibition training (conditioned stimulus {CS} A→unconditioned stimulus {US}/AX→noUS). After inhibition training, the conditioned inhibitor (X) was paired with the US in order to measure inhibition, as assessed through retarded behavioral control by CS X. Three temporal relationships were manipulated: the A-US interval, the X-A interval of inhibition training, and the X-US interval of the retardation test pairings. Retardation was greatest when the X-US temporal relationship matched the time at which the US was expected (but not delivered) on the X-A inhibition training trials. Thus, the present experiments provide evidence with retardation tests that, during conditioned inhibition training, subjects encode the temporal location of the omitted US relative to the inhibitory CS. These findings complement those of previous studies using summation tests of conditioned inhibition (Barnet & Miller, 1996; Denniston, Blaisdell, á Miller, 1998; Denniston, Cole, & Miller, 1998).
    Animal Learning & Behavior 01/2001; 29(3):281-290.
  • D. C. Burger, J. C. Denniston, R. R. Miller
    Animal Learning & Behavior 01/2001; 29(4):388-388.
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    Aaron P. Blaisdell, James C. Denniston, Ralph R. Miller
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    ABSTRACT: In four Pavlovian conditioned lick-suppression experiments, rats had two conditioned stimuli (CSs X and A) independently paired with footshock, followed by pairings of a compound of A and X with the footshock. On subsequent tests with CS X, less conditioned suppression was observed than in control subjects that lacked the compound AX→footshock trials. Thisoverexpectation effect was reversed through posttraining extinction of CS A, a result consistent with both performance- and acquisition-focused models of retrospective revaluation. However, only performance-focused models could account for how posttraining increases or decreases in the A-footshock temporal interval attenuate the overexpectation effect.
    Animal Learning & Behavior 01/2001; 29(4):367-380.
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    ABSTRACT: In 3 Pavlovian conditioned lick-suppression experiments, rats received overshadowing treatment with a footshock unconditioned stimulus such that Conditioned Stimulus (CS) A overshadowed CS X. Subjects that subsequently received CS X paired with an established signal for saccharin (CS B) exhibited less overshadowing of the X-footshock association than subjects that did not receive the X-B pairings (Experiment 1). Experiment 2 replicated this effect and controlled for some additional alternative accounts of the phenomenon. In Experiment 3, this recovery from overshadowing produced by counterconditioning CS X was attenuated if CS B was massively extinguished prior to counterconditioning. These results are more compatible with models of cue competition that emphasize differences in the expression of associations than those that emphasize differences in associative acquisition.
    Journal of Experimental Psychology Animal Behavior Processes 02/2000; 26(1):74-86. · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    A P Blaisdell, J C Denniston, R R Miller
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    ABSTRACT: Two conditioned lick suppression experiments explored the effects on overshadowing of a posttraining change in the temporal relationship between the overshadowing conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditioned stimulus (US). Rats received either trace (Experiment 1) or delay (Experiment 2) overshadowing training. Then pairings of the overshadowing CS and US were given with either a trace or delay temporal relationship. Overshadowing was alleviated by shifting the overshadowing CS-US temporal relationship so that it no longer matched the overshadowed CS-US temporal relationship. These outcomes are explicable in terms of an integration of the comparator hypothesis, which states that cue competition effects (e.g., overshadowing) will be maximal when the information potentially conveyed by competing CSs is equivalent, and the temporal coding hypothesis, which states that CS-US intervals are part of the information encoded during conditioning.
    Journal of Experimental Psychology Animal Behavior Processes 02/1999; 25(1):18-27. · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    James C. Denniston, Robert P. Cole, Ralph R. Miller
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    ABSTRACT: Two experiments with rats investigated the temporal relationships under which conditioned inhibition will transfer to an independently conditioned excitor (CS) in a summation test. Experiment 1 trained 2 simultaneous inhibitors with either a trace or delay excitatory CS. Transfer of inhibitory behavioral control depended on the temporal relationship of the transfer CS to the unconditioned stimulus (US). Experiment 2 extended these findings by training 2 inhibitors (1 simultaneous and 1 serial) with a single delay excitatory CS. Again, testing with trace and delay transfer CSs found that transfer of inhibitor control depended on the temporal relationship of the transfer CS to the US. In both studies, maximal inhibition was observed when the inhibitor signaled US omission at the same time as the transfer excitor signaled US presentation. The results are discussed in terms of the temporal coding hypothesis.
    Journal of Experimental Psychology Animal Behavior Processes 05/1998; 24(2):200-14. · 2.38 Impact Factor
  • Lisa M. Gunther, James C. Denniston, Ralph R. Miller
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    ABSTRACT: Prior research has found a) recovery from overshadowing as a result of posttraining extinction of comparator stimuli (i.e., the overshadowing stimulus), and b) context modulation of conditioned responding to Pavlovian stimuli (i.e., renewal). The present research brought together these two findings by investigating whether comparator stimuli are subject to contextual control. In a Pavlovian conditioned suppression situation, rats were exposed to an overshadowing procedure (i.e., AX+) in one context and then received extinction of the overshadowing cue (i.e., A−) in the same or a different context. If AX+ training and subsequent extinction of A occurred in the same context, animals exhibited recovery of responding to the target cue (i.e., X) regardless of the test context. However, if AX+ training and extinction of A occurred in different contexts, behavior depended on the test context. If X was tested in the overshadowing context, overshadowing was observed. But if X was tested in the context where A had been extinguished or in a third (neutral) context, overshadowing was not observed. Thus, context modulates comparator effects in a manner somewhat similar to how it modulates simple Pavlovian responding. The notable exception was that robust responding to both A and X was observed in the neutral context, which is problematic for most contemporary theories of learning.
    Learning and Motivation. 05/1998; 29(2):200–219.
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    Aaron P. Blaisdell, James C. Denniston, Ralph R. Miller
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    ABSTRACT: Three conditioned lick suppression experiments explored the effects on overshadowing of the temporal relationships of two conditioned stimuli (CSs) with an unconditioned stimulus (US). Assuming overshadowing is maximal when the potential information conveyed by two competing CSs is equivalent, the temporal coding hypothesis predicts that greater overshadowing will be observed when the CSs share the same temporal relationship with the US. Rats were exposed to an overshadowing CS that had either a forward, simultaneous, or backward relationship to the US. The relationship of the overshadowed CSs to the US was either forward (Experiment 1), simultaneous (Experiment 2), or backward (Experiment 3). The greatest amount of overshadowing was observed when both CSs had the same temporal relationship to the US. The data are discussed within the framework of the temporal coding hypothesis and of alternative models of Pavlovian conditioning based on the informational hypothesis.
    Journal of Experimental Psychology Animal Behavior Processes 02/1998; 24(1):72-83. · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    L M Gunther, J C Denniston, R R Miller
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    ABSTRACT: The acquisition of anxiety disorders (e.g., phobias) is often thought to be mediated by classical conditioning processes (e.g., Wolpe, 1958, Psychotherapy by reciprocal inhibition Wolpe and Rowan, 1989, Behaviour Research and Therapy, 27, 583-585). Thus, the success of exposure therapy is possibly a consequence of extinction, and factors affecting extinction in Pavlovian conditioning are potentially relevant to clinicians who administer exposure therapy. The present experiments investigated the effects of conducting extinction in multiple contexts using rats as subjects in a conditioned suppression paradigm. In Experiment 1, subjects received conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus (US) pairings in one context followed by extinction of that CS in one or three other contexts. When tested in an associatively neutral context (i.e., different from those of conditioning or extinction), rats that had received extinction in three contexts exhibited less responding to the CS than rats that had received extinction in one context. In Experiment 2, CS-US training occurred in either one or three contexts, followed by extinction of that CS in three other contexts. Testing in a neutral context revealed that rats conditioned in multiple contexts showed greater responding to the CS than rats trained in a single context. The results are discussed in the framework of memory retrieval, and the clinical implications are explored.
    Behaviour Research and Therapy 02/1998; 36(1):75-91. · 3.85 Impact Factor
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    Aaron P. Blaisdell, James C. Denniston, Ralph R. Miller
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    ABSTRACT: Conditioned barpress suppression was used to examine the effects of qualitative changes in the unconditioned stimulus (US) between Phases 1 and 2 of a blocking paradigm. In Phase 1, rats received pairings of a conditioned stimulus (CS) with footshock. In Phase 2, experimental subjects received a single trial of the same CS or a different CS compounded with a second stimulus and followed either by a footshock or an ice water dunking. These two USs were equated in their potential to elicit conditioned suppression of barpressing. Less blocking of the second stimulus (i.e., unblocking) was observed in subjects that received a qualitative change in US between phases than in subjects for which the US was consistent between phases. This unblocking effect is discussed with respect to the differences between various models of conditioning and several prior successes and failures to demonstrate unblocking.
    Learning and Motivation - LEARN MOTIV. 01/1997; 28(2):268-279.
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    J. C. Denniston, R. R. Miller, H. Matute
    Psychological Science - PSYCHOL SCI. 01/1996; 7(6):325-331.
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    Robert P. Cole, James C. Denniston, Ralph R. Miller
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    ABSTRACT: The roles of deficient acquisition and deficient expression of learned information in the effect of relative stimulus validity were examined using rats in a conditioned lick suppression paradigm. Recovery from the effect without further pairings of the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditioned stimulus (US) would favor an interpretation of the relative validity effect based on a latent CS-US association as distinct from a failure to acquire the CS-US association. As a potential recovery manipulation, “reminder” treatments, consisting of the US alone (Experiment 1) or the CS alone (Experiment 2), were administered following relative validity training. In both cases, subjects for which the CS target was of low relative predictive validity exhibited enhanced responding relative to appropriate controls. Additionally, Experiment 2 showed that the amelioration of the relative validity deficit was stimulus specific. Thus, the results of these experiments support previous suggestions that the performance deficit resulting from low relative stimulus validity is due, at least in part, to a failure to express acquired information (Cole, Barnet, & Miller, 1995a).
    Learning & Behavior 24(3):256-265. · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    James C. Denniston, Aaron P. Blaisdell, Ralph R. Miller
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    ABSTRACT: In three experiments with rats, the temporal relationships under which a conditioned inhibitor would transfer its inhibitory potential to an independently trained excitor in a summation test were investigated. Each experiment varied the temporal relationship between the inhibitor and the transfer excitor at test (serial or simultaneous) and, in addition, manipulated either the inhibitor-training excitor (serial or simultaneous), training excitor-unconditioned stimulus (US) (trace or delay), or the transfer excitor-US (trace or delay) temporal relationships. Conditioned inhibition was found only when the no-US expectation evoked by the conditioned inhibitor was temporally aligned with the US expectation evoked by the transfer excitor, independent of whether the inhibitor was trained as a serial or simultaneous signal for US omission. Results are discussed in terms of the temporal coding hypothesis and the comparator hypothesis.
    Learning & Behavior 26(3):336-350. · 1.88 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

408 Citations
24.77 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001–2007
    • Appalachian State University
      • Department of Psychology
      Boone, NC, United States
  • 1997–2005
    • State University of New York
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2000
    • Tufts University
      • Department of Psychology
      Medford, MA, United States