Conditioning pp 319-331 | Cite as

Reflections on Early Studies of Cortical Unit Activity During Conditioning in the Monkey

  • Herbert Jasper
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 26)


Retrospective review of early microelectrode studies (24 years ago) of firing patterns of cortical cells in occipital, parietal, sensory, motor, and frontal areas in the monkey during shock (UCS) avoidance conditioning to intermittent photic stimulation (full field, CS) has lead to the following conclusions.
  1. 1.

    Changes in cortical cell activity in all five areas studied was observed in response to both the UCS and the CS administered independently prior to associative conditioning.

  2. 2.

    The number, intensity, and pattern of these responses were reduced and altered by habituation to the CS alone without reenforcement, but some generalized responses remained.

  3. 3.

    Unit responses in the form of excitation, inhibition, or change in pattern occurred in a significant number of cells in all five cortical areas even after conditioned avoidance was well established.

  4. 4.

    Excitatory responses were most prominent in sensory and motor areas while inhibitory responses predominated in frontal and parietal areas, though both types of response occurred in all areas. The parietal area appeared to play a critical role in frequency selectivity of differential conditoning.

  5. 5.

    Attempts to differentiate processes of habituation, generalized arousal, mechanisms of motor response, and associative conditioning were not successful. It was concluded that they all participate in the conditioning process throughout.



Conditioning Stimulus Motor Cortex Motor Response Conditioned Response Delay Period 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert Jasper
    • 1
  1. 1.The Montreal Neurological InstituteCentre de recherche en sciences neurologiques Université de MontréalMontréalCanada

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