Concept Definition: Temporal Conditioning

Important characteristics of Temporal Conditioning:

  • US is presented at regular intervals.
  • No distinctive CS.
  • CR occurs just prior to US onset.
  • A possibility is that the inter-stimulus interval itself is the CS, since it is reliably paired with US onset.
graph showing that US is presented at regular intervals over time

Consider the unconditioned reflex whereby food elicits (US) elicits salivation (UR). In Temporal Conditioning, food (US) would be presented at regular intervals (e.g., once every minute). Consequently, salivation may occur just prior to food delivery; this effect is observed in the absence of any identifiable stimulus paired with the food other than the constant inter-food interval.