Two experiments were conducted using rats to determine whether extinction is susceptible to a traditional amnestic agent (i.e., hypothermia) and to examine whether amnesia for extinction follows the same characteristics as those that occur with original memories. In Experiment 1, rats received hypothermia immediately, 60 min, or 120 min after extinction. When tested, the subjects cooled shortly after extinction showed little memory of the extinction training. This amnesia for extinction disappeared with longer postextinction delays, demonstrating a temporal gradient. Experiment 2 replicated the basic finding and demonstrated that an amnestic-extinguished memory could be recovered by reexposing the subjects to the amnestic agent and that the recovered extinction memory did not persist. These findings provide more evidence that extinction is a form of new learning and are consistent with retrograde amnesia research for original memories showing a temporal gradient and alleviation of retrograde amnesia by reexposure to the amnestic agent.
Learning & Behavior
Briggs, James F.; Riccio, David C. (2007). Retrograde Amnesia for Extinction: Similarities with Amnesia for Original Acquisition Memories. Learning & Behavior 35(3) 131-140. doi: 10.3758/BF03193048. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/psycpubs/22