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Concomitant Pavlovian conditioning of heart rate and leg flexion responses in the rat

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Abstract

Pavlovian conditioning was studied in male Fischer 344 rats using tones as the conditioned stimulus (CS) and footshock as the unconditioned stimulus (UCS). Different groups of animals received (a) contiguous CS-UCS pairings with a 0.5 sec CS, (b) contiguous CS-UCS pairings with a 4.0 sec CS, or (c) a random sequence of noncontiguous tones and shocks using either a 0.5 sec or a 4.0 sec CS. Heart rate (HR) and leg flexion (LF) responses were recorded. Leg flexion conditioning occurred only in the 0.5 sec contiguous group. Decelerative HR CRs occurred only in the 4.0 sec contiguous group. Accelerative HR changes occurred in the other two groups but were significantly greater in the 0.5 sec contiguous group. These results are similar to but not identical to those obtained during eyeblink or nictitating membrane conditioning in rabbits, and suggest that the topography of the Pavlovian HR CR is dependent on the simultaneous occurrence of other classically conditioned responses.

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Author information

Correspondence to D. A. Powell.

Additional information

The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Linda L. Hernandez and Shirley L. Buchanan in data analysis. This research was supported by VA General Medical Research funds awarded to the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Hospital.

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Ginn, S.R., Valentine, J.D. & Powell, D.A. Concomitant Pavlovian conditioning of heart rate and leg flexion responses in the rat. Pav. J. Biol. Sci. 18, 154–160 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03019166

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Keywords

  • Conditioned Stimulus
  • Pavlovian Conditioning
  • Heart Rate Change
  • Accelerative Heart Rate
  • Accelerative Component