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authors Stephanie L. Quail, Vincent Laurent, and Bernard W. Balleine’s (2017)
intent for the article was to broaden the comprehension of stimulus controlled
behaviour and how human make decisions. To depict if inhibitor associations
would alter human’s decisions in the opposing ways of exciters, a concept with
limited prior research (Quial et al., 2017). Particularly inhibitors that are
Pavlovian conditioned (Quail, Laurent, & Balleine, 2017). Pavlovian conditioning
(classical conditioning) determined by Ivan Pavlov demonstrates the effects of
stimuli on behaviour (Weiten & McCann, 20161a). Corresponding to how humans
and animals learn as we subconsciously predict outcomes based on the stimuli
present (Weiten & McCann, 20161a;Quial et al., 2017). Thus, they adapted
upon previous research by adding more response-outcome options and controlled
more variables with human subjects (Quial et al., 2017). While comparing to
prior experiments on rats, to show the method of Pavlovian-instrumental
transfer and the concept of inhibitor stimuli, as being transferable between
species (Quial et al., 2017).

experiments were conducted, both with different sample sizes, 20 (8 men) and 30
(14 men), respectfully (Quial et al., 2017). Per Canadian ethical guidelines
imposed by the Canadian Psychological Association (2017), there are four principles;
respect of people’s dignity, caring, integrity and societal responsibility. In
regards to dignity, no discriminatory factors were mentioned or analyzed,
however the amount of women in the first experiment could have led to biased
results (Weiten & McCann, 20161b) Though, it could be due to willingness/randomness
of participants (Weiten & McCann, 20161b). All subjects consented to the
experiment in correspondence with the Ethics committee at the University of
Sydney (Quial et al., 2017). Thus, the care and integrity would have been withheld,
as the methods appear to be easy in nature, with minimal risk and a gift
voucher as a benefit. (Weiten & McCann, 20161b). Seeing that the methods
were conducted utilizing a computer where subjects went through a series of
tests, each with a simulated bending machine (Quial et al., 2017). Likewise, the
article appears to be designed in order to improve the overall knowledge of
humans, in correspondence with the principle of societal respect (Weiten &
McCann, 20161b).

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were given a stimulus (coloured button) in which each would result in an
outcome (exciter) while inhibitors were implemented to result in no outcome.
(Quial et al., 2017). The results demonstrated, that the exciter stimuli led subjects
to choose the response that would lead to that outcome. Whilst inhibitors resulted
in the subjects choosing another response that would not result in no outcome
(Quial et al., 2017). Proving inhibitor response decisions are present in
humans as observed in rats. Experiment two was used to control suspected extraneous
variables (Weiten & McCann, 20161b; Quial et al., 2017). As they further
divided subjects into general learners (those who associated the stimuli as
resulting in no outcome) and specific learners (those who linked the stimuli to
specific outcome) (Quial et al., 2017). Overall, general learners were not
influenced by the inhibitory stimulus to a significant amount. However, the
opposite was observed in specific learners (Quial et al., 2017).

Laurent, and Balleine (2017) have provided a further understanding of how
inhibitory stimuli can guide decisions to those different from that of
excitatory. This provides the psychology community with inspiration and a basis
to pursue further research on this concept, as others should strive to improve
and criticize their work. Seeing the lack of previous human experiments conducted
(Quial et al., 2017). The distinction between general and specific learners, as
well as the data presented in rats, shows both similarities and distinctions
within and between species (Quial et al., 2017). It serves as an example for
students to comprehend how learning is different between individuals and the effects
of classical conditioning. While, showing proper ethical manners associated
with experiments and publishing of research articles.


Psychological Association. (2017). Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists.

 Retrieved from

Quail, S.L., Laurent, V., &
Balleine, B.W. (2017). Inhibitory Pavlovian-instrumental transfer.

of Experimental Psychology:Animal learning and cognition, 43, 315-324.

W., & McCann, D. (20161a). Learning. Psychology
Themes and Variations (pp. 233-

Toronto, ON: Nelson Education Ltd.

W., & McCann, D. (20161b). The Research Enterprise in Psychology. Psychology

 Themes and Variations (pp. 40-69). Toronto, ON: Nelson
Education Ltd.


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