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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Jul;6(7):2007-27. doi: 10.3390/ijerph6072007. Epub 2009 Jul 20.

Silent trace eliminates differential eyeblink learning in abstinent alcoholics.

Author information

1
Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA. Catherine_Fortier@hms.harvard.edu

Abstract

Chronic alcoholism has profound effects on the brain, including volume reductions in regions critical for eyeblink classical conditioning (EBCC). The current study challenged abstinent alcoholics using delay (n = 20) and trace (n = 17) discrimination/reversal EBCC. Comparisons revealed a significant difference between delay and trace conditioning performance during reversal (t (35) = 2.08, p < 0.05). The difference between the two tasks for discrimination was not significant (p = 0.44). These data support the notion that alcoholics are increasingly impaired in the complex task of reversing a previously learned discrimination when a silent trace interval is introduced. Alcoholics' impairment in flexibly altering learned associations may be central to their continued addiction.

KEYWORDS:

alcohol; discrimination; eyeblink classical conditioning; learning; reversal

PMID:
19742168
PMCID:
PMC2738895
DOI:
10.3390/ijerph6072007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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