Stress-induced facilitation of classical conditioning

Tracey J. Shors, Craig Weiss, Richard F. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

278 Scopus citations


Stress has been shown to impair subsequent learning. To determine whether stress would impair classical conditioning, rats were exposed to inescapable, low-intensity tail shock and subsequently classically conditioned under freely moving conditions with a brief periorbital shock unconditioned stimulus and a white noise conditioned stimulus. Unexpectedly stressed rats exhibited significantly more conditioned eyeblink responses and the magnitude of their individual responses was also enhanced. These results stand in contrast to the learning deficits typically observed and suggest that stress can enhance the acquisition of discrete conditioned responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-539
Number of pages3
Issue number5069
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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