The contribution of stressor intensity, duration, and context to the stress-induced facilitation of associative learning

Tracey J. Shors, Richard J. Servatius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

Exposure to an acute stressor of restraint and intermittent tailshock facilitates acquisition of the classically conditioned eye-blink response 24 h after stressor cessation. The contribution of stressor intensity, duration, and context was determined. Male rats exposed to 90 or 30 1-mA tailshocks exhibited sensitization to an auditory cue of 86 dB and facilitated acquisition of the conditioned response, whereas rats exposed to 90 0.5-mA tailshocks or restraint alone only exhibited sensitization. Rats exposed to the 5 1.0-mA tailshocks (and 5 min of restraint) exhibited neither sensitization nor facilitated acquisition. Rats stressed in the same context 48 and 96 h earlier exhibited sensitization and facilitated acquisition relative to those stressed in a different context. Neither stressed group exposed to unpaired stimuli responded to the CS, and thus there was no pseudod-conditioning. Together, these results dissociate the stress-induced sensitization from the facilitated learning. They also indicate that the facilitated learning is particularly sensitive to stressor intensity and contextual cues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-96
Number of pages5
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Volume68
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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