Relationship of Active Avoidance Learning to the Pituitary-Thyroid and Pituitary-Adrenocortical Responses to Cold Exposure in the Rat
As shown by previous findings, enhanced ACTH release and depressed TSH secretion are useful parameters of emotional disturbances, such as fear or anxiety. A positive correlation was observed between passive avoidance learning and the plasma corticosterone concentration, used as an index of ACTH release (Dupont et al. 1971b). Contrariwise, active avoidance learning proved inversely related to the plasma corticosterone level and positively related to the plasma TSH concentration (Dupont et al. 1971 a, b). From the opposite correlations recorded between these endocrine parameters and the two forms of avoidance learning, it was inferred that “fear tension”, which is reflected by the endocrine responses, plays opposite roles in the two situations. Passive avoidance learning would represent the inhibition by shock-induced fear of the goal-directed motor activity. Active avoidance learning, by contrast, requires the initiation of a goal-directed motor response which would be inhibited by the fear tension.
KeywordsUnconditional Stimulus Cold Exposure Plasma Corticosterone Avoidance Learning Conditional Signal
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