Conditional Stimulus Probability and Activity of Hippocampal, Cingulate Cortical, and Limbic Thalamic Neurons During Avoidance Conditioning in Rabbits

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acquisition & performance of locomotor CR, cingulate cortices & hippocampal & limbic thalamic neuronal activity, rabbits

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Multi-unit and field potential responses in the anterior (AC) and posterior cingulate cortices (PC), dentate gyrus (DG), and anterior ventral (AV) and medial dorsal (MD) thalamic nuclei of rabbits were recorded during acquisition and performance of a locomotor conditioned response (CR). The CR, stepping in an activity wheel in response to a tone (conditioned stimulus [CS+]), prevented the occurrence of a shock unconditioned stimulus (UCS) scheduled 5 sec after CS+ onset. Ss also learned to ignore a different tone (CS–), not predictive of the UCS. Training was given daily until behavioral discrimination reached criterion. After criterion, asymmetric probability (AP) sessions were given that were the same as the conditioning session except for probability manipulation. A significant discriminative response developed in all regions during behavioral acquisition. The unit response in the AP session was enhanced in all areas by rare presentation of the CS–, compared with the equal and frequent CS– conditions. Rare presentation of the CS+ enhanced the unit response in the AC, PC, and DG, but it suppressed the firing of AV and MD neurons. Rare CS+ presentations did not alter AV and PC neuronal activity in Ss with subicular lesions.

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Behavioral Neuroscience, v. 103, issue 5, p. 919-934.