Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

February 1992


Published in The Psychological Record, 42 (1992), pp. 57-73. Copyright 1992 The Psychological Record. Used by permission.


A crossover design must be used and a crossover data pattern must result if selective associations are to be inferred. In addition, three other methodological criteria must be met. (1) Only the nature of the reinforcer should be varied, (2) nonassociative explanations must be ruled out, and (3) the differences in behavior controlled by the conditioned stimuli (CSs) must be caused by a learning difference and not a performance difference. Experimental evidence typically cited as demonstrating the existence of selective associations was reviewed here and found to fall short of meeting the criteria stated herein. I conclude that interpretations invoking selective associations have been premature.

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