Conditioning and Habituation of the Arousal Response

A Historical Perspective
  • Herbert H. Jasper


In order to provide some historical perspective on the remarkable advances made during recent years in our understanding of microphysiological, biophysical, and possible molecular mechanisms involved in single nerve cells, synapses, and neuronal circuits during habituation and conditioning, I would like to review briefly some early studies of Pavlovian conditioning of the occipital a rhythm in man, begun about 50 years ago. I would like then to review the highlights of implanted electrode studies of habituation of electrical and behavioral arousal responses in normal, freely moving cats carried out with Seth Sharpless over 30 years ago.


Light Stimulus Anticipatory Response Paired Trial Trace Interval Arousal Response 
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. Celesia, G. G., and Jasper, H. H., 1966, Acetylcholine released from the cerebral cortex in relation to state of activation, Neurology (Minneap.) 16: 1053–1064.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cruikshank, R. M., 1937, Human occipital brain potentials as affected by intensity—duration variables of visual stimulation, J. Exp. Psychol. 21: 625–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dump, G., and Fessard, A., 1935, L’Électroencéphalogramme de l’homme, Ann. Psychol. 36: 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Jasper, H. H., 1969, Neurochemical mediators of specific and non-specific cortical activation, in: Attention in Neurophysiology ( C. R. Evans and T. B. Mulholland, eds.), Butterworth, London, pp. 377–395.Google Scholar
  5. Jasper, H. H., 1965, Mechanisms for the selection and preservation of acquired stimulus—response patterns, Excerpta Med. Int. Cong. Ser. 87: 641–644.Google Scholar
  6. Jasper, H., 1981, Reflections on early studies of cortical unit activity during conditioning in the monkey, in: Conditioning: Representation of Involved Neural Functions, Volume 26 ( C. D. Woody, ed.), Plenum Press, New York, pp. 319–332.Google Scholar
  7. Jasper, H.H., and Cruikshank, R. M., 1937, Electroencephalography II, Visual stimulation and the after image as affecting the occipital alpha rhythm, J. Gen. Psychol. 17: 29–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Jasper, H. H., and Shagass, C., 1941a, Conditioning the occipital alpha rhythm in man, J. Exp. Psychol. 28: 373–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jasper, H., and Shagass, C., 1941b, Conscious time judgments related to conditioned time intervals and voluntary control of the alpha rhythm, J. Exp. Psychol. 28: 503–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jasper, H. H., Ricci, G., and Doane, B., 1960, Microelectrode analysis of cortical cell discharge during avoidance conditioning in the monkey, J. Electroencephalogr. Clin. Neurophysiol. [Suppl.] 13: 137–155.Google Scholar
  11. Loomis, A. L., Harvey, E. N., and Hobart, G. A., 1936, Electrical potentials of the human brain, J. Exp. Psychol. 19: 249–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Murray, G., 1969, The role of cholinergie mechanisms in the learning of a tactile discrimination in the monkey, M.Sc. Thesis, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal.Google Scholar
  13. Rheinberger, M. B., and Jasper, H. H., 1937, The electrical activity of the cerebral cortex in the unanesthetized cat, Am. J. Physiol. 119: 186–196.Google Scholar
  14. Sharpless, S., and Jasper, H., 1956, Habituation of the arousal reaction, Brain 79: 655–680.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Sie, G., Jasper, H. H., and Wolfe, L., 1965, Rate of ACh release from cortical surface in ‘encephale’ and ‘cerveau isole’ cat preparations in relation to arousal and epileptic activation of the ECoG, Electroencephalogr. Clin. Neurophysiol. 18: 206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Travis, L. E., and Egan, J. P., 1938, Conditioning of the electrical response of the cortex, J. Exp. Psychol. 22: 524–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Walter, W. G., 1938, The technique and application of electroencephalography, J. Neurol. Psychiatry 1: 359–385.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Woody, C. D., Swartz, B. E., and Gruen, E., 1978, Effects of acetylcholine and cyclic GMP in awake cats, Brain Res. 158: 373–395.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert H. Jasper
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Research in Neurological Sciences, Department of PhysiologyUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  2. 2.The Montreal Neurological InstituteMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations