The Pavlovian Fear Conditioning task allows for the assessment of learning and memory regarding aversive events. The task allows for the simultaneous assessment of learning about simple, unimodal cues and learning about complex, multimodal stimuli such as context. Fear conditioning universally depends on the integrity of the amygdala, but context conditioning is sensitive to manipulations of the hippocampus. This task takes advantage of the rodent’s natural defense of freezing (lack of motion) as a good indicator of fear level. This task has been used extensively to demonstrate both genetically based impairments and enhancements in learning and memory.
There is a multitude of variations with this procedure, including number and intensity of shocks, time between cue and shock presentations, number of days of testing, etc. Please contact us to discus the best variation for your study. This experimental procedure can be performed on up to 4 mice and rats at the same time.
After training in Context A, subjects level of freezing behavior is recorded after a retention delay.
|In a contextual conditioning experiment, subjects are returned to Context A where their freezing is measure in response to the conglomerate of complex contextual stimuli.|
|In a cued conditioning experiment, subjects are are placed in a novel context, and freezing behavior is examined with and without a fear-associated cue.|