Abstract: Chronic alcoholism has profound effects on the brain, including volume reductions in regions critical for eyeblink classical conditioning (EBCC). The current study challenged abstinent alcoholics using delay (n = 20) and trace (n = 17) discrimination/reversal EBCC. Comparisons revealed a significant difference between delay and trace conditioning performance during reversal (t (35) = 2.08, p < 0.05). The difference between the two tasks for discrimination was not significant (p = 0.44). These data support the notion that alcoholics are increasingly impaired in the complex task of reversing a previously learned discrimination when a silent trace interval is introduced. Alcoholics’ impairment in flexibly altering learned associations may be central to their continued addiction.
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Fortier, C.B.; Maksimovskiy, A.L.; Venne, J.R.; LaFleche, G.; McGlinchey, R.E. Silent Trace Eliminates Differential Eyeblink Learning in Abstinent Alcoholics. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6, 2007-2027.
Fortier CB, Maksimovskiy AL, Venne JR, LaFleche G, McGlinchey RE. Silent Trace Eliminates Differential Eyeblink Learning in Abstinent Alcoholics. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2009; 6(7):2007-2027.
Fortier, Catherine B.; Maksimovskiy, Arkadiy L.; Venne, Jonathan R.; LaFleche, Ginette; McGlinchey, Regina E. 2009. "Silent Trace Eliminates Differential Eyeblink Learning in Abstinent Alcoholics." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 6, no. 7: 2007-2027.