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Keywords:

  • Autonomic conditioning;
  • Information processing;
  • Electrodermal activity;
  • Heart rate;
  • Finger pulse;
  • Probe reaction time

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to quantitatively investigate the role of information processing in conditioning using stimuli with varying amounts of information content. A letter reproduction task varying in complexity served as the unconditioned stimulus. In the first experiment, we tested the indicator function of electrodermal and car-diovascular variables. The amount of information processing resources required emerged most clearly in electrodermal reactions (EDRs), showing an increase with increasing stimulus information content. A second experiment was performed using the same design to confirm the role of processing resources allocation during conditioning by means of an independent indicator. A reaction time task was introduced as a measure of information processing resources utilized. The results paralled the dependence of EDRs on stimulus information content, as was found in the first experiment.