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Isolation rearing from weaning has been reported to enhance excitatory conditioning. The present study employed a conditioned inhibition procedure to examine whether this result was attributable to locomotor hyperactivity. Rats were raised from 21 days old in isolation or in groups of five. In Phase 1, presentation of stimulus A+ was followed immediately by sucrose availability (excitatory conditioning). In Phase 2, sucrose was again presented after A+ alone, but not after a compound presentation of A+ with a second stimulus, B-. Thus, B is believed to acquire conditioned inhibitory properties, countering the excitatory impact of A, and reducing responding specifically to this stimulus compound. Isolates showed enhanced excitatory conditioning in Phase 1. Furthermore, acquisition of conditioned inhibition in Phase 2 was also facilitated by isolation rearing. In Phase 3, B- was paired with a period of sucrose availability. Isolation rearing initially retarded responding to B-, confirming that this stimulus possessed a greater degree of behavioural inhibition in these animals. Later in training, isolates showed enhanced excitatory conditioning to B-, as shown previously to A+ in Stage 1. These results suggest that isolation rearing enhances the acquisition of appetitive Pavlovian associations, independently of locomotor hyperactivity. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original publication




Journal article


Physiology and Behavior

Publication Date





525 - 533