chapter  6
Stimulus Significance, Conditionability, and the Orienting Response in Rats
Pages 24

Since the late 1970s we have been trying to understand the way in which attentional processes influence one sort of information processing-that involved in associative learning. The central idea guiding our work can be stated briefly. It is that one aspect of attention (that necessary for a stimulus to enter into associations) is paid only to stimuli that have uncertain conse­ quences. Part of the evidence for this assertion comes from the study of the behavioral orienting response (OR)1 shown by rats to a localized stimulus, a response that we take to reflect this form of attention and, thus, to reflect stimulus conditionability.