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Behav Neurosci. 2015 Dec;129(6):683-91. doi: 10.1037/bne0000105. Epub 2015 Oct 26.

Cross-modal savings in the contralateral eyelid conditioned response.

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Department of Psychology, Christopher Newport University.
Department of Psychology, University of Iowa.


The present experiment monitored bilateral eyelid responses during eyeblink conditioning in rats trained with a unilateral unconditioned stimulus (US). Three groups of rats were used to determine if cross-modal savings occurs when the location of the US is switched from one eye to the other. Rats in each group first received paired or unpaired eyeblink conditioning with a conditioned stimulus (tone or light; conditional stimulus [CS]) and a unilateral periorbital electrical stimulation US. All rats were subsequently given paired training, but with the US location (Group 1), CS modality (Group 2), or US location and CS modality (Group 3) changed. Changing the location of the US alone resulted in an immediate transfer of responding in both eyelids (Group 1) in rats that received paired training before the transfer session. Rats in Groups 2 and 3 that initially received paired training showed facilitated learning to the new CS modality during the transfer sessions, indicating that cross-modal savings occurs whether or not the location of the US is changed. All rats that were initially given unpaired training acquired conditioned eyeblink responses similar to de novo acquisition rate during the transfer sessions. Savings of CR incidence was more robust than savings of CR amplitude when the US switched sides, a finding that has implications for elucidating the neural mechanisms of cross-modal savings.

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