The effects of interpolated US alone (USa) presentations on classical nictitating membrane conditioning in rabbit(Oryctolagus cuniculus)

  • Dale W. Leonard
  • Lewis C. Fischbein
  • Joyce E. Monteau


The nictitating membrane (NM) response of 36 rabbits was classically conditioned using a 1,000-Hz tone (CS) paired with circumorbital shock (US) at a 250-msec CS-US interval. Two experimental groups received additional presentations of the US given alone (USa), either 30 seconds (Group E30) or 60 seconds (Group E60) following each CS-US pairing, and their performance was compared to that of control Ss (Group C60) which never experienced USa. Presentations of USa resulted in significant and approximately equal performance decrements in both experimental groups relative to the C60 controls. However, no significant differences among the groups appeared during an extinction phase. The effects of USa presentations were discussed in terms of Papsdorf’s consolidation interpretation and Rescorla’s (1967) contingency theory of conditioning, and appeared to favor the latter view. Additional analyses led to the conclusions that (1) the increased amplitude of the NM UR on paired CS-US trials relative to USa trials can be attributed, at least in part, to the simple laws of the reflex, independent of the conditioning processper se, and (2) the partial reinforcement extinction effects previously reported by Leonard and Theios (1968) cannot be attributed solely to the presence of USa in their continuous reinforcement control Ss.


Conditioning Trial Nictitate Membrane Nictitate Membrane Response Nictitate Membrane Paired Trial 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Breisford, J., and Theios, J.: Single-session conditioning of the nictitating membrane in the rabbit: Effect of intertriai interval.Psychon. Sci.,2: 81–82, 1965.Google Scholar
  2. Frey, P. W., and Misfeldt, T. J.: Rabbit eyelid conditioning as a function of the intertriai interval.Psychon. Sci.,9: 137–138, 1967.Google Scholar
  3. Gormezano, I.: Classical conditioning. In J. B. Sidowski (Ed.)Experimental Methods and Instrumentation in Psychology. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1966; pp. 385–420.Google Scholar
  4. Grevert, P., and Moore, J. W.: The effects of unpaired US presentations on conditioning of the rabbit’s nictitating membrane response: consolidation or contingency.Psychon. Sci.,20: 177–179, 1970.Google Scholar
  5. Hupka, R. B., Kwaterski, S., and Moore, J. W.: Conditioned diminution of the UCR: Differences between the human eyeblink and the rabbit nictitating membrane response.J. Exp. Psychol.,83: 45–51, 1970.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ison, J. R., and Leonard, D. W.: Effects of auditory stimuli on the amplitude of the nictitating membrane reflex of the rabbit (Oryctologus cuniculus).J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol.,75: 157–164, 1971.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kettlewell, N. M., and Papsdorf, J. D.: The effects of an interpolated ITI stimulus on classical conditioning of the nictitating membrane response of the rabbit.Psychon. Sci.,9: 257–258, 1967.Google Scholar
  8. Kimble, G. A., and Ost, J. W. P.: A conditioned inhibitory process in eyelid conditioning.J. Exp. Psychol.,61: 150–156, 1961.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kimmel, H. D.: Inhibition of the unconditioned response in classical conditioningPsychol Rev.,73: 232–240, 1966.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kimmel, H. D., and Pennypacker, H. S.: Conditioned diminution of the unconditioned response as a function of the number of reinforcements.J. Exp. Psychol.,64: 20–23, 1962.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Leonard, D. W., and Theios, J.: Classical conditioning in the rabbit: The effect of partial omitted and partial delay acquisition on US omitted, US unpaired, or US delayed extinction. Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, Illinois; May, 1968.Google Scholar
  12. Papsdorf, J. D., and Kettlewell, N. W.: The effects of different interpolated ITI stimulus-conditioned stimulus intervals on the acquisition of the classically conditioned nictitating membrane response of the rabbit.Psychon. Sci.,10: 171–172, 1968.Google Scholar
  13. Rescorla, R. A.: Pavlovian conditioning and its proper control procedures.Psychol. Rev.,74: 71–80, 1967.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Salafia, W. R., and Papsdorf, J. D.: The effects of ITI interpolated stimuli and CS intensity on classical conditioning of the nictitating membrane response of the rabbit.Psychon. Sci.,13: 187–188, 1968.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale W. Leonard
    • 1
  • Lewis C. Fischbein
    • 1
  • Joyce E. Monteau
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesPurdue UniversityWest Lafayette

Personalised recommendations