Operant conditioning of trigeminally-evoked cortical potentials: Correlated effects on facial nociception

Robert Dowman, J. Peter Rosenfeld, Mary Heinricher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


The effects of operant conditioning somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) amplitude on nociceptive sensitivity were studied in albino rats. SEPs were evoked by stimulation to the descending trigeminal tract. Rewarding medial forebrain bundle stimulation (at intensities predetermined to sustain bar pressing) was made contingent upon the animal making the amplitude of the SEP 0.5 standard deviation (S.D.) larger (uptraining) or 0.5 S.D. smaller (downtraining) than the predetermined mean value. Nociceptive sensitivity was measured immediately following the conditioning session by heating the rat's face and noting the latency of a defensive face rubbing response directed at the area of the face. Increasing the amplitude of the SEP (uptraining) was associated with a decrease in noxious sensitivity. Decreasing the amplitude of the SEP (downtraining) was associated with an increase in noxious sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 13 1983



  • operant conditioning of neural activity
  • pain
  • somatosensory evoked potential
  • trigeminal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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