Classical conditioning with auditory discrimination of the eye blink in decerebrate cats

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Science  29 Apr 1977:
Vol. 196, Issue 4289, pp. 551-553
DOI: 10.1126/science.850800


Cats were subjected to complete lower brainstem transection, and were then tested for learning ability according to a classical conditioning paradigm. An auditory stimulus was systematically paired with a brief shock to the eyelid. Within a few weeks after the operation, the decerebrate cats could learn the conditioned response with a tone frequency discrimination and then a discrimination reversal. Our results support the notion that the brainstem reticular formation can support a conditioned response which isbehaviorally similar to that obtained in the intact animal.