Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Herbert O. Morice


Thirty-two, naive, albino rats were randomly assigned to one of eight treatment groups with four members per group. The apparatus used was a modified one-way avoidance chamber developed by Baum (1965). The variables studied were the effects of a retraining anxiety relief condition, a hierarchical presentation of tone with the anxiety relief condition, different inter-trial intervals, and the interactions of these variables. All subjects were given the anxiety training to a ninety decibel tone and one-half of the subjects were given anxiety relief training. All subjects were trained to a criterion of ten consecutive avoidance responses in a one-way avoidance situation and were then subjected to one of several different treatment combinations of reciprocal inhibition, response prevention, and flooding. Twelve hours after treatment all subjects were extinguished to a criterion of ten consecutive failures to respond in the avoidance situation. This extinction series was repeated twenty-four hours later to test for spontaneous recovery. The number of responses was taken as the dependent variable.

The statistical analyses revealed that none of the variables of: pretraining anxiety relief, hierarchical presentation of tone with anxiety relief conditions, and different inter-trial intervals or their interactions, were capable of affecting the measures of extinction.

The results were discussed in terms of learning theory and reciprocal inhibition. Some explainations were given for the unusually rapid extinction obtained.