[page 15 of handout]

Pavlovian Conditioning in Human Subjects?

In some cases conscious cognitive processes in human subject appears to over-ride any simpler conditioning effects (see Davey, 1987). In other cases however there is evidence that associative process in human learning occur without or in spite of conscious awareness.

1.        Minor motor reflexes
Knee-jerk Twitmeyer (1902/1974)
Leg flexion Timmann et al, (1996, 1998, 2000), Kolb & Timmann (1996), Maschke et al. (2002) gif Dimitrova et al., (2004)
Eyeblink Woodruff-Pak (1993), Blaxton et al, (1996), Logan and Grafton (1995), Bracha et al (1997) McGlinchy-Berroth et al (1997) Gabrieli et al (1995) Gabrieli (1998), [www.abstract] Carillo et al., (2001), Kinder and Lachnit (2002), Clark, Manns and Squire (2002).

2.        Autonomic and metabolic effects
Aversive UCS e.g.skin-resistance measures and shock UCS Ohman et al (1975a/b), Esteves et al (1994) Wik et al (1997), Ohman and Soares (1998), Buchel and Dolan (2000) Bouton et al, (2001), Ploghaus et al. (2001), Mineka and Ohman (2002), Delgado et al. (2006).
Immune system Russell et al (1984), Ader and Cohen, (1993); Exton et al. (2000) Miller and Cohen (2001)
Blood-glucose Woods (1976: animals), Fehmwolfsdorf et al, 1993; Stockhurst at al. (2000, 2004).
Drug administration/ tolerance effects Siegel (1976-2001: animals), Glautier et al (1994), Powell (1995), Ramsay and Woods (1997), Montgomery and Kirsh (1997); Kim and Siegel (2001), Exton et al. (2000) Siegel & Ramos (2002), McDonald et al. (2004)
Anticipatory nausea and taste-aversion Carey and Burish (1988), Arwas et al (1989), Hu et al (1996), Morrow and Black (1991), Montgomery and Bovbeg (1997); Cameron et al. (2001), Stockhorst et al. (2006)

3.        Sensory and perceptual effects
Direction of rotation of an ambiguous figure (Necker cube) Haijiang et al. (2006)
The 'escalator effect': sensations associated with movment Simpson (1992) - see handout
McCollough Effects: associations between colour and shape (see below) Holding and Jones (1976), Allan and Siegel (1993), Siegel et al (1992) below. McCollough (2000); Ans et al. (2001)

The McCollough after effect — e.g. Holding and Jones (1976)   [bottom of page 15]

  • If red vertical and green horizontal stripes are followed by black and white vertical and horizontal stripes then these vertical stripes appear green, and the horizontal stripes appear red.

  • In Holding and Jones (1976) Ss were asked to null the effect on black/white gratings by using a colour mixer.

  • Very long persistence of the after-effect was found: 4, 24, 96 hours and 2000 hours (3 months) could elapse before the first black and white test.

  • But a single test series initiated a decay process lasting several days.

  • Some use the word “conditioning” for this association between pattern and colour (e.g. Allan and Siegel, 1993, 1997a, 1997b; Siegel et al, 1992)



Allan, L.G. and Siegel, S. (1993) McCollough effects as conditioned responses: Reply to Dodwell and Humphrey. Psychological Review, 100, 342-6.

Allan, L. G., & Siegel, S. (1997a). Assessing a new analysis of contingent color aftereffects. Cognition, 64(2), 207-222.

Allan, L. G., & Siegel, S. (1997b). Contingent color aftereffects: Reassessing old conclusions. Perception & Psychophysics, 59(1), 129-141.

Siegel, S., Allan, L.G. and Eissenberg. T. (1992) The associative basis of contingent color after-effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 121, 79-94.

Siegel, S. and Allan, L.G. (1992) Pairings in learning and perception: Pavlovian conditioning and contingent colour after-effects. In D. Medin (Ed) The Psychology of Learning and Perception Vol 28. San Diego: Academic Press, 127-160.