chapter  60
5 Pages

Instrumental Learning of Vasomotor Responses by Rats: Learning to Respond Differentially in the Two Ears

WithLeo V. DiCara

Curarized and artificially respirated rats were rewarded by electrical stimulation of the brain for changes in the balance of vasomotor activity between the two ears. Leo DiCara and S. Miller have shown that vasomotor responses in the tail of the rat can be modified by instrumental learning. During vasomotor conditioning, the subject lay prone in a harness-supported cloth sling, placed in a soundproof, ventilated enclosure equipped with a loudspeaker delivering a 1000-hz tone at 82 db. This chapter provides information on a experiment that determines whether such vascular learning can be made specific to a given structure, such as one ear. The experiment adds to an increasing list of successful attempts to secure instrumental learning of visceral responses mediated by the autonomic nervous system, and represents a striking example of the specificity of the learning which can be achieved.