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Open AccessArticle

Silent Trace Eliminates Differential Eyeblink Learning in Abstinent Alcoholics

1
Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), VA Boston Healthcare System; Boston, MA, USA
2
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Boston, MA, USA
3
Memory Disorders Research Center (MDRC), Boston University School of Medicine & VA Boston Healthcare System; Boston, MA, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(7), 2007-2027; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph6072007
Received: 19 June 2009 / Accepted: 10 July 2009 / Published: 20 July 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Public Health)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: alcohol; eyeblink classical conditioning; learning; discrimination; reversal alcohol; eyeblink classical conditioning; learning; discrimination; reversal
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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.

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