Reflex Facilitation of the Nictitating Membrane Response Remains After Cerebellar Lesions

Donald J. Weisz, Joseph J. LoTurco

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49 Scopus citations


Reflex facilitation and associated properties were investigated during classical conditioning of the nictitating membrane (NM) response in rabbit. In the first experiment, the role of the cerebellum was examined by comparing the unconditioned responses of animals with bilateral lesions of the deep cerebellar nuclei with those of operated controls during counterbalanced tone/light (T/L) discrimination training. Both T and L facilitated unconditioned NM responses when used as the CS+ (conditioned stimulus), but neither facilitated when used as the CS-. There were no significant differences in the amount of reflex facilitation exhibited by animals with lesions compared with control animals. Animals with lesions, however, failed to acquire conditioned responses after 10 days of training, whereas all control animals met acquisition criterion within 4 days. In the second experiment, reflex facilitation was shown to decrement in a stimulus-specific manner when nonreinforced presentations of an auditory stimulus were given. The discussion of results focuses on the relation between reflex facilitation and classical conditioning in terms of behavioral properties and underlying neural systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-209
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1988
Externally publishedYes


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