Odor-guided fear conditioning in rats: 1. Acquisition, retention, and latent inhibition

Tim Otto, Graham Cousens, Kimberly Rajewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Three experiments examined the acquisition, retention, and latent inhibition of odor-guided fear conditioning in rats. The results of Experiment 1 indicate that forward conditioned stimulus (CS)-unconditioned stimulus (US) pairings resulted in robust freezing responses to subsequent presentation of the CS alone. In Experiment 2, rats in one group (PRE) received unreinforced preexposures to the odorant CS, and those in a second group (NON) were not preexposed to the odorant. All rats then received forward CS-US pairings. PRE rats exhibited a marked attenuation of freezing to subsequent exposure to the CS relative to NON rats. All rats were then retested at one of the following posttraining delays: 17, 24, or 31 days. Freezing behavior of the NON rats declined significantly across these delays, whereas rats in the PRE group froze no more at any delay than they had 24 hr after training. Experiment 3 examined the contextual specificity of latent inhibition. Only those rats that were preexposed and trained in the same context exhibited latent inhibition. These results indicate that odor-guided fear conditioning is a robust and useful paradigm suitable for future studies of the neural bases of associative learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1257-1264
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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