An immediate-shock freezing deficit with discrete cues: A possible role for unconditioned stimulus processing mechanisms

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Abstract

Five experiments with C57BL/6 mice (Mus musculus) investigated whether failures in shock processing might contribute to deficits in freezing that occur after an animal receives a shock immediately on exposure to a conditioning context. Experiment 1 found that more contextual freezing resulted from delayed shocks than from immediate shocks across 4 shock intensities. Experiment 2 extended the immediate-shock freezing deficit to discrete stimuli. Experiment 3 found that preexposure to the to-be-conditioned cue did not facilitate immediate cued conditioning. Experiment 4 found that context preexposure enhanced context-evoked fear after an immediate shock. Experiment 5 found that context preexposure also enhanced immediate cued conditioning. These findings are problematic for current theories of the immediate-shock freezing deficit that focus exclusively on processing of the conditioned stimulus, and they suggest that failures in shock processing may contribute to the deficit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-406
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes
Volume27
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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