Aversive Conditioning and Learning by Robert Brush

By Robert Brush

"very little fabric of this type used to be released"

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Aversive Conditioning and Learning

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The second reason for questioning the widsom of focusing so much attention on the problem of mediation is that a point of diminishing returns may have been reached in this type of research. The study of mediation is extremely difficult when one becomes involved in the analysis of central processes. The meaning of the phrase "central movement processes" is clear. These processes were assumed to occur when impulses which lead to movement were being sent out from the brain, and movement would have taken place if the impulses had not been blocked at the neuromuscular junction.

This conclusion, however, can be questioned. The curarization procedure might not have prevented all muscle activity, even though all obvious movement had disappeared. If this were the case, vestigial responses of the skeletal musculature could have been inadvertently reinforced and could have mediated changes in heart rate. In order to check on occurrences of muscle activity under curare, electromyographic activity was measured in experiments by Banuazizi (1968), and DiCara and Miller (1968b).

In fact, a reversal occurred in the response to vagal stimulation under deep curarization. An increase, rather than a decrease, was observed. This reversal occurred because the vagus contains both sympathetic and parasympathetic components, and the latter seem to be more readily blocked by d-tubocurarine in this dog. Not only did the dog show a reversal when the vagus was stimulated, but it was also the only dog whose heart rate acceleration to the CS did not deteriorate under deep curarization.

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