Eyeblink conditioning is a well-understood paradigm for the study of learning and memory and has been successfully employed with the use of auditory and visual conditioned stimuli (CSs). In this study, vibrotactile stimulation of the mystacial vibrissae was examined as an alternative CS in the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). The technique is described and acquisition of eyeblink conditioning (EBC) with stimulation of a single row of vibrissae in a delay paradigm is reported. Extinction of EBC with presentation of the CS alone is demonstrated, as well as reacquisition with stimulation of a single whisker. Finally, control experiments ensure that the CS has no auditory components. Ipsilateral presentation of the CS and airpuff is a more effective combination for training than contralateral presentations. Vibrotactile stimulation of the vibrissae as a CS will enable further examination of the neural correlates of learning in a well-characterized sensory system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience