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Behav Neurosci. 2001 Dec;115(6):1171-9.

Spared discrimination and impaired reversal eyeblink conditioning in patients with temporal lobe amnesia.

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Department of Neurological Sciences, Cognitive Neuroscience Section, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


The effect of medial temporal lobe damage on a 2-tone delay discrimination and reversal paradigm was examined in human classical eyeblink conditioning. Eight medial temporal lobe amnesic patients and their demographically matched controls were compared. Amnesic patients were able to distinguish between 2 tones during the initial discrimination phase of the experiment almost as well as control participants. Amnesic patients were not able to reverse the previously acquired 2-tone discrimination. In contrast, the control participants showed improved discrimination performance after the reversal of the tones. These findings support the hypothesis that the hippocampus and associated temporal lobe regions play a role in eyeblink conditioning that becomes essential in more complex versions of the task, such as the reversal of an acquired 2-tone discrimination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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