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Behav Brain Res. 1999 May;101(1):1-13.

Discriminative fear conditioning to context expressed by multiple measures of fear in the rat.

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Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


There has been a renewed interest in the neural basis of fear conditioning to context. These current approaches are accompanied by some limitations including the use of short testing windows, non-discriminative paradigms, and unitary fear response assessment. In an attempt to circumvent these limitations, a discriminative context procedure assessing multiple response measures of fear was used in the present study. Conditioning consisted of three training sessions and each session consisted of 2 days. On day one, the animals were placed in the paired context and received three foot shocks. On the other day, they were placed in the unpaired chamber in the absence of any aversive event. Animals were tested after each training session and the response measures of fear recorded included: preference, freezing, heart rate, ultrasonic vocalizations, defecation, body temperature, urination and locomotion. The results suggest that behavioral, as well as physiological changes evoked by fearful stimuli become associated with the context in which the aversive event occurred. In general these findings also suggest that there are different learning parameters for the measures of fear examined in this paradigm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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