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Escape-Avoidance Learning

  1. M. Ray Denny

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0320

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Denny, M. R. 2010. Escape-Avoidance Learning. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. Michigan State University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Avoidance learning and extinction are typically studied in rats with electric foot-shock as the aversive stimulus. In active avoidance, the rat is often placed in a runway, the floor of which is electrified at one end and is, at least temporarily, safe at the other end. The rat must move to the opposite end to escape or avoid shock. Before shock is delivered, the subject has several seconds in which to respond. A naïve subject, however, fails to avoid and is shocked on at least one trial before escaping the shock chamber. Thus traditional avoidance learning always includes escape behavior and is appropriately called escape-avoidance learning.