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Neural substrates of discriminative avoidance learning and classical eyeblink conditioning in rabbits: a double dissociation

Authors
Journal
Behavioural Brain Research
0166-4328
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
82
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0166-4328(97)81105-9
Keywords
  • Discriminative Avoidance Learning
  • Classical Nictitating Membrane Conditioning
  • Anterior Thalamic Nucleus
  • Medial Dorsal Thalamic Nucleus

Abstract

Abstract In a previous study, lesions of the deep cerebellar nuclei blocked classical eyeblink conditioning, but did not impair discriminative avoidance learning in rabbits. Here, as also found previously, lesions of the anterior and medial dorsal thalamic nuclei severely impaired discriminative avoidance learning. However, these lesions had no impact on discriminative eyeblink conditioning or reversal learning. These results complete the demonstration of a double dissociation, indicating distinct neural substrates for the acquisition of these learned behaviors. It is proposed that the two learning circuits identified by these studies mediate, respectively, acquisition of specific adaptive reflexes and whole-body, voluntary goal-directed movements.

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