Our interest in cardiovascular conditioning, particularly the fact that conditional tachycardia has been observed in many dogs after only one or two combinations of conditional and unconditional stimuli, led us to investigate conditioning using a single application of an unconditional stimulus. Initially we studied the effect of orienting stimuli (soft tones) on the heart rate in 9 dogs. After 30–100 presentations of the tones alone, each dog received on one occasion a 25-volt shock (sufficient to cause yelping and struggling) to a leg as unconditional stimulus immediately following a tone. Thereafter 30–100 additional tones were presented with no further shock. Little or no heart rate change occurred during the orienting tones (before shock). Three types of cardiac changes occurred during experimental sessions after the shock: 1) Increased heart rate during the tones in 5 dogs; 2) Generalized lowering of heart rate during all experimental sessions after shock in 4 dogs; 3) Electrocardiographic changes during tones in 3 of the dogs also showing the generalized decrease in heart rate. No motor flexion conditional reflexes developed. Tones an octave different in pitch from the one associated with the shock also caused approximately the same heart rate changes, indicating lack of differentiation. This one-trial cardiac conditioning persisted after the single conditioning trial for more than a month in 2 dogs and for at least 3 to 5 sessions in the other dogs.
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This work was supported by grants from the American Heart Association and the National Heart Institute, U. S. Public Health Service (HE 06945).
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Newton, J.E.O., Gantt, W.H. One-trial cardiac conditioning in dogs. Conditional Reflex 1, 251–265 (1966). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03001788
- Unconditional Stimulus
- Avoidance Conditioning
- Single Shock
- Tone Onset
- Heart Rate Level