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Review
, 11 (5), 517-24

Brain Mechanisms of Extinction of the Classically Conditioned Eyeblink Response

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Review

Brain Mechanisms of Extinction of the Classically Conditioned Eyeblink Response

Karla Robleto et al. Learn Mem.

Abstract

It is well established that the cerebellum and its associated circuitry are essential for classical conditioning of the eyeblink response and other discrete motor responses (e.g., limb flexion, head turn, etc.) learned with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US). However, brain mechanisms underlying extinction of these responses are still relatively unclear. Behavioral studies have demonstrated extinction as an active learning process distinct from acquisition. Experimental data in eyeblink conditioning suggest that plastic changes specific to extinction may play an important role in this process. Both cerebellar and hippocampal systems may be involved in extinction of these memories. The nature of this phenomenon and identification of the neural substrates necessary for extinction of originally learned responses is the topic of this review.

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