Backward, Secondary, and Trace Conditioning
The timing theory framework offers a fundamentally different interpretation of the results from three dichotomies commonly recognized in the structure of conditioning protocols: trace conditioning versus delay conditioning, backward conditioning versus forward conditioning, and secondary conditioning versus primary conditioning. A long series of brilliantly conceived and executed experiments in the laboratory of Ralph Miller have recently shown that the traditional associative interpretations of these dichotomies are untenable. The experiments bring a new unity to our understanding of the different results obtained from these contrasting protocols, by showing that in each case the differences depend not on differences in the associative strengths produced but rather on the remembered information about the temporal relationship between the stimuli. This has led Miller and his colleagues (Miller & Barnet, 1993) to the Temporal Coding Hypothesis.