Trace eyeblink conditioning (EBC) parameters, with an airpuff unconditioned stimulus, were examined in male Fischer 344 X Brown Norway F1 rats. Integrated electromyographic activity from the upper eyelid was recorded. An 8-kHz tone was superior to white noise as a conditioning stimulus. Rats trained with 30 or 50 trials per session showed similar learning. Reversal of environmental lighting had no significant effect. Trace intervals of 0 and 250 ms yielded well-timed conditioned responses (CRs); intervals of 500 ms or more did not. These experiments provide parameters that reliably yield CRs and suggest limits on the temporal processing capabilities of the rat. EBC can thus be used as part of a comprehensive test battery for learning and memory in this species. Physiological recording and pharmacological manipulations may also be done easily. This combination of approaches should facilitate a more complete understanding of learning mechanisms and age-related memory impairments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience