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Brain Res. 1980 Jul 7;193(1):229-48.

Hippocampal unit-behavior correlations during classical conditioning.


The correspondence that develops over the course of classical conditioning between the temporal distribution of increased unit activity in the rabbit hippocampus and the amplitude--time distribution of the behavioral nictitating membrane response is analyzed. Results reveal a high degree of correspondence between neural and behavioral measures. The real time correlation between the within-trial probability and increased hippocampal unit discharge and amplitude--time course of the nictitating membrane response grows substantially with learning. Further analyses reveal that this apparent increase in correlation results from a growth in amount of hippocampal unit activity per se (i.e., a differentiation of the hippocampal unit response from background firing rates), rather than an increase in the correspondence between cellular and behavioral measures (i.e. a repatterning of hippocampal discharges to more accurately code spatio-temporal aspects of the behavioral response). These and other results indicate that the neuronal 'temporal model' of the behavioral response either develops within the hippocampus from the first few conditioning trials or develops first in entorhinal cortex to subsequently influence hippocampal discharge patterns. On the other hand, the increase in amount of hippocampal unit activity developing with conditioning appears to occur within the hippocampus.

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