Associative Learning

associative learning

Associative learning has been a fundamental area of psychological research for over a century. It refers to how humans and other animals learn about the relationships between events in their environments. For example, as children we learn to predict the arrival of the ice-cream truck by the music it plays. Early work by Pavlov, Watson, Thorndike, and Skinner on associative learning has had a profound influence on our understanding of human behaviour, with applications ranging as wide as parenting, marketing, and clinical interventions.


My current work in this area investigates whether awareness is necessary for learning, Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer, and how learning contributes to the placebo effect.

Some recent publications in this area include:

Quinn, V. F., Livesey, E. J. & Colagiuri, B. (in press). Latent inhibition reduces nocebo nausea, even without deception. Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Colagiuri, B. & Livesey, E. J. (2016). Contextual cuing as a form of nonconscious learning: theoretical and empirical analysis in large and very large samples. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23: 1996-2009. ↓pdf

Bezzina, L., Lee, J. C., Lovibond, P. F., Colagiuri, B. (2016). Extinction and renewal of cue-elicited reward-seeking. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 87: 162-169. ↓pdf

Quinn, V. F. & Colagiuri, B. (2016). Sources of placebo-induced relief from nausea: the role of instruction and conditioning. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78: 365-372. ↓pdf

Colagiuri, B., Quinn, V. F., & Colloca, L. (2015). Nocebo hyperalgesia, partial reinforcement, and extinction. Journal of Pain, 16: 995-1004. ↓pdf

Lovibond, P.F., Satkunarajah, M., & Colagiuri, B. (2015). Extinction can reduce the impact of reward cues on reward-seeking behaviour. Behavior Therapy, 46: 432-438. ↓pdf

Colagiuri, B. & Lovibond, P. F. (2015). How food cues can enhance and inhibit motivation to obtain and consume food. Appetite, 84: 79-87.pd

Au Yeung, Y. S., Colagiuri, B., Lovibond, P. F., Colloca, L. (2014). Partial reinforcement, extinction, and placebo analgesia. Pain, 155: 1110-1117. ↓pdf

Lovibond, P. F. & Colagiuri, B. (2013). Facilitation of voluntary goal-directed behavior by reward cues. Psychological Science, 24: 2030-2037. ↓pdf

Colagiuri B., Livesey, E., & Harris, J. A. (2011). Can expectancies produce placebo effects for implicit learning? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18: 399-405. ↓pdf

Boakes, R.A, Colagiuri B., & Mahon, M. (2010). Learned aversions to flavours signalling reduction in a nutrient. JEP: Animal Behavior Processes, 36: 117-125. ↓pdf

You can click on ↓pdf link to access pdf versions of these papers. You clicking on the link constitutes your request to me for a personal copy of the article and my delivery of that personal copy. Any other use is prohibited.