Classic conditioning in aged rabbits: delay, trace, and long-delay conditioning

Behav Neurosci. 1996 Jun;110(3):427-35. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.110.3.427.


Young (0.5 years) and aged (2+, 3+, and 4+ years) rabbits underwent acquisition of the classically conditioned nictitating membrane response in a delay (500-ms conditioned stimulus [CS], 400-ms interstimulus interval [ISI]), long-delay (1,000-ms CS, 900-ms ISI), or trace (500-ms CS, 400-ms stimulus-free period) paradigm. Collapsing across age groups, there is a general tendency for animals to acquire trace conditioning more slowly than delay conditioning. Collapsing across conditioning paradigms, there is a general tendency for aged animals to acquire more slowly than younger animals. Of greater significance, however, are the age differences in the different conditioning paradigms. In the delay and long-delay paradigms, significant conditioning deficits first appeared in the 4(+)-year-old group. In the trace conditioning paradigm, significant conditioning deficits became apparent in the 2(+)-year-old animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Blinking / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Classical*
  • Nictitating Membrane / physiology
  • Rabbits