Fear potentiated startle at short intervals following conditioned stimulus onset during delay but not trace conditioning.Psychophysiology. 2009 Jul; 46(4):880-8.P
The latency of conditioned fear after delay and trace conditioning was investigated. Some argue that delay conditioning is not dependent on awareness. In contrast, trace conditioning, where there is a gap between the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditioned stimulus (US), is assumed to be dependent on awareness. In the present study, a tone CS signaled a noise US presented 1000 ms after CS onset in the delay conditioning group. In the trace conditioning group, a 200-ms tone CS was followed by an 800-ms gap prior to US presentation. Fear-potentiated startle should be seen at shorter intervals after delay conditioning compared to trace conditioning. Analyses showed increased startle at 30, 50, 100, and 150 ms after CS onset following delay conditioning compared to trace conditioning. This implies that fear-relevant stimuli elicit physiological reactions before extended processing of the stimuli occur, following delay, but not trace conditioning.