The authors investigated classical eyeblink conditioning in a relatively rare patient, B.R., with extensive cerebellar cortical atrophy and marked sparing of the dentate nucleus. Patient B.R.'s ability to acquire and extinguish simple associations (delay and trace conditioning tasks) as well as her ability to acquire more complex associations (temporal and simple discrimination tasks) were examined. There are 2 primary findings from this study. First, B.R. showed normal acquisition and extinction in delay and trace conditioning. Second, she demonstrated a complete inability to learn associative discriminations, even in the case of a simple 2-tone discrimination within the context of a delay paradigm. The latter finding was unexpected because of the sparing of her deep cerebellar nuclei. These data suggest that the cerebellar cortex, or pathways traversing cerebellar cortex, play an important role in classical eyeblink discrimination learning.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology