The effects of age on eyeblink conditioning in the freely moving Fischer-344 rat

Craig Weiss*, Richard F. Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The effects of age were assessed on the ability of male Fischer-344 rats to acquire a classically conditioned eyeblink using the "delay" paradigm. Using a 350 ms white noise conditioning stimulus and a 100 ms coterminating periorbital shock (2 mA, 60 Hz, AC) we have demonstrated that these rats exhibit deficits as early as middle age. Middle-aged and senescent rats (18 and 30 months) exhibited significantly fewer conditioned responses than young rats (3 and 12 months). Since all of the rats responded to a test noise, and there were no differences in threshold to evoke a blink, this result is likely to be due to an associative deficit. Thus, our results indicate that eyeblink conditioning in the freely moving rat is a useful model system for behavioral and neurobiological analyses of the effects of age on associative learning and memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-254
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991


  • Aging
  • Classical conditioning
  • EMG
  • Fischer-344
  • Nictitating membrane
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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