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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00742

Effects of nodal distance on CS valences across time

  • 1Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil
  • 2Montreal Neurological Institute, Mcgill University, Canada
  • 3University of Minho, Portugal

A meaningless symbol that repeatedly co-occurs with emotionally salient faces (US) can transform into a valenced symbol (CS). US-to-CS valence transformations have been observed for CS that have been directly (US>CS0) and indirectly (US>CS0>CS1>CS2) linked with face US. The structure of a US>CS0>CS1>CS2 series may be conceptualized in terms of ‘nodal distance’, where CS0, CS1 and CS2 are 0, 1 and 2 nodes from the US respectively. Increasing nodal distance between an evaluated CS and it’s linked US can reduce magnitude of observed CS valence transformations. We explored currently whether nodal distance can influence CS valence extinction, which describes reductions in CS valence following repeated exposures to CS without any accompanying US. In our study, faces with happy/neutral/sad expressions (US) were directly linked with nonsense words (US>CS0). The directly linked CS0 were concurrently linked with other words (CS0>CS1, CS1>CS2). Subjects evaluated all stimuli before and after conditioning, then continued to provide CS evaluations twice a week for six weeks. Bayesian factors provided credible evidence for the transformation and extinction of CS valences that were 0 and 1 nodes from US (all BF10’s > 100). The variability across post-conditioning CS evaluations provides indirect evidence for context-sensitive/propositional and structural/associative operations during CS evaluations.

Keywords: extinction, Valence transformation, Learning Theory, Classical Conditioning, emotion

Received: 29 Sep 2018; Accepted: 16 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Javier L. Rico, Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz, Colombia

Reviewed by:

Fabio C. Cruz, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil
Shane McLoughlin, University of Chester, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2019 Amd, machado, oliveira, passareli and rose. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Micah Amd, Federal University of São Carlos, São Carlos, 13565-905, São Paulo, Brazil, micah.amd.eab@hotmail.com