The present study examined the proactive effects of inescapable stress on aversive Pavlovian conditioning. Stressed rats were restrained and exposed to 90 1-mA tailshocks. Twenty-four hours later, all rats were exposed to 10 conditioned stimuli (CS; 350 ms of white noise at 85 dB). Rats then received either paired training in which the CS coterminated with a 100-ms, 0.7-mA periorbital shock or the same stimuli presented in an explicitly unpaired fashion. After the unpaired exposures, these rats were also exposed to paired training. Previously stressed rats exhibited persistent sensitization to the white-noise stimulus. Stressed rats exposed to unpaired stimuli, and no longer exhibiting a sensitized response, acquired the eyeblink conditioned response at a facilitated rate when these stimuli were presented in a paired fashion. These results also demonstrate that the effect of stress on classical conditioning is long-lasting, in excess of 48 hr.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience