Neural correlates of unconditioned response diminution during Pavlovian conditioning

Academic Article


  • Pavlovian conditioning research has shown that unconditioned responses (UCR) to aversive unconditioned stimuli (UCS) are reduced when a UCS is predictable. This effect is known as UCR diminution. In the present study, we examined UCR diminution in the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal by varying the rate at which a neutral conditioned stimulus (CS) was paired with an aversive UCS. UCR diminution was observed within several brain regions associated with fear learning, including the amygdala, anterior cingulate, auditory cortex, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex when a CS continuously relative to intermittently predicted the UCS. In addition, an inverse relationship between UCS expectancy and UCR magnitude was observed within the amygdala, anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, such that as UCS expectancy increased the UCR decreased. These findings demonstrate UCR diminution within the fMRI signal, and suggest that UCS expectancies modulate UCR magnitude.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • NeuroImage  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dunsmoor JE; Bandettini PA; Knight DC
  • Start Page

  • 811
  • End Page

  • 817
  • Volume

  • 40
  • Issue

  • 2