The Impact of Hippocampal Lesions on Trace-Eyeblink Conditioning and Forebrain–Cerebellar Interactions

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Behavioral Neuroscience published a pivotal paper by Moyer, Deyo, and Disterhoft (1990) 25 years ago that described the impaired acquisition of trace-eyeblink conditioning in rabbits with complete removal of the hippocampus. As part of the Behavioral Neuroscience celebration commemorating the 30th anniversary of the journal, we reflect upon the impact of that study on understanding the role of the hippocampus, forebrain, and forebrain–cerebellar interactions that mediate acquisition and retention of trace-conditioned responses, and of declarative memory more globally. We discuss the expansion of the conditioning paradigm to species other than the rabbit, the heterogeneity of responses among hippocampal neurons during trace conditioning, the responsivity of hippocampal neurons following consolidation of conditioning, the role of awareness in conditioning, how blink conditioning can be used as a translational tool by assaying potential therapeutics for cognitive enhancement, how trace and delay classical conditioning may be used to investigate neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, and how the 2 paradigms may be used to understand the relationship between declarative (explicit) and nondeclarative (implicit) memory systems.

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