Conditioning-Specific Modification of the Rabbit's Unconditioned Nictitating Membrane Response

Bernard G. Schreurs*, M. Matthew Oh, Chie Hirashima, Daniel L. Alkon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Robust classical conditioning modifies responding to the unconditioned stimulus (US) in the absence of the conditioned stimulus (CS), a phenomenon the researchers called conditioning-specific reflex modification. Unconditioned responses (URs) to periorbital stimulation varying in intensity and duration were assessed before and after 1, 3, or 6 days of paired, explicitly unpaired, or no presentations of tone and electrical stimulation. After 3 days of pairings, conditioned responding (CRs) reached 94%, and there was an increase in latency to the peak of URs. The peak latency increase was replicated in a second experiment where rabbits reached asymptotic conditioning during 6 days of pairings. There was also a conditioning-specific increase in the amplitude of URs. There were no UR changes as a function of low level of CRs following 1 day of pairings. Data suggest that there are learning-specific changes in pathways mediating the US/UR, as well as in those mediating the CS/CR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-33
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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