Latent inhibition in the developing rat: An examination of context-specific effects

Carol S L Yap*, Rick Richardson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Latent inhibition (LI) refers to the reduction in conditioned responding when the conditioned stimulus (CS) is preexposed prior to CS-unconditioned stimulus pairings. Experiment 1a demonstrated that preexposure to an odor CS prior to odor-shock pairings markedly reduced conditioned freezing in 25-day-old rats: however, this LI effect was observed only if odor preexposure and odor-shock pairings occurred in the same context (i.e., LI was context-specific at this age). The results of Experiment 1b showed that 18-day-olds also exhibited LI, but this effect was not context-specific at this age. In Experiment 2, rats were preexposed to the odor at 18 days of age and given odor-shock pairings at 25 days of age. These rats exhibited context-specific latent inhibition, suggesting that 18-day-old rats encoded the preexposure context. In Experiment 3, all parameters were identical to Experiment 2, with the exception that odor-shock pairings were given at ∼PN18 and testing occurred at ∼PN25. These rats exhibited latent inhibition at test, but this effect was not context-specific. The results of this study suggest that (a) PN18 rats can exhibit latent inhibition, and (b) the expression of context-specific latent inhibition depends on the age at which conditioning occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-65
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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