chapter  56
9 Pages

Changes in Heart Rate Instrumentally Learned by Curarized Rats as Avoidance Responses

WithLeo V. DiCara

This chapter determines whether something unique about direct electrical stimulation of the brain makes it the only kind of reward that can reinforce visceral learning. It also determines whether a discrimination can be learned so that a greater change in heart rate occurs to a stimulus always preceding the shock than to one never preceding it. The results of the experiment show that escape from or avoidance of mild electric shock can be used to reinforce the instrumental learning of either increases or decreases in heart rate by rats that are completely paralyzed with curare. A. H. Black has shown that partially curarized dogs, unable to make gross muscular movements, can be trained to make skeletal responses that can be recorded as action potentials of the muscle, and that such training produces an increase in the heart rate.