Effect of Delay Interval on Classical Eyeblink Conditioning in 5-Month-Old Human Infants
Associative learning was evaluated in human infants with simple delay classical eyeblink conditioning. A tone conditioned stimulus (CS) was paired with an airpuff unconditioned stimulus (US) at three different delay intervals (250, 650, and 1,250 ms). Independent groups of healthy, full-term 5-month-old human infants were assigned to these three paired conditions and received two identical training sessions 1 week apart. The two longer delays resulted in associative conditioning, as confirmed by comparison with unpaired control groups. However, only at the 650-ms delay were associative eyeblinks adaptively timed to avoid the airpuff. The delay function at 5 months of age appears much sharper than is observed in adults. Together with the findings of A. H. Little, L. P. Lipsitt, and C. Rovee-Collier (1984), the present study suggests a downward shift in the optimal delay interval for associative eyeblink conditioning between 1 and 6 months of age. However, this delay remains longer than what is typically reported in adults.
Claflin, D. I.,
Stanton, M. E.,
& Eckerman, C. O.
(2002). Effect of Delay Interval on Classical Eyeblink Conditioning in 5-Month-Old Human Infants. Developmental Psychobiology, 41 (4), 329-340.