Acquisition of Conditioned Associations in Hermissenda: Additive Effects of Contiguity and the Forward Interstimulus Interval

Louis D. Matzel, Bernard G. Schreurs, Izja Lederhendler, Daniel L. Alkon

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24 Scopus citations


Conditioned suppression of photokinesis by the marine molluse Hermissenda was examined in 3 experiments. In each experiment, groups of animals received light (the conditioned stimulus, CS) that was paired with high-speed orbital rotation (the unconditioned stimulus, UCS), light and rotation explicity unpaired, or no exposure to these stimuli. Twenty-four hours after training, all animals were tested for suppression of photokinesis in the presence of the light. To establish the effectiveness of our conditioning procedure, in Experiment 1 individual groups of animals received either 50, 100, or 150 CS-UCS pairings. Fifty pairings resulted in a marginal suppression of photokinesis, whereas 100 and 150 pairings produced strong suppression. In Experiment 2, the delay between CS onset and UCS onset was varied between 1 and 10 s. The 10-s interstimulus interval (ISI) did not support conditioning, whereas 1-s and 2-s ISIs were effective. As predicted by the current understanding of Hermissenda's neural network, in Experiment 3 it was found that CS-UCS pairings in which the CS preceded the onset of the UCS and terminated with the offset of the UCS evoked stronger conditioned suppression than either a CS that preceded the UCS and terminated with its onset or a CS that was paired in simultaneous compound with the UCS. This result indicates that CS-UCS contiguity as well as the forward ISI act additively to establish the CS-UCS association. In none of the 3 experiments were any differences observed between groups that were untreated and that received the CS and UCS unpaired. In total, these experiments suggest strong similarities in the temporal characteristics of associative learning in Hermissenda and vertebrate species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-606
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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