Delayed development of conditioned heart rate responses to auditory stimuli in the rat.Dev Psychobiol. 1995 May; 28(4):221-38.DP
This study examined heart rate responses to an auditory conditioned stimulus during development in the rat. The unconditioned stimulus (US) in all experiments was an acoustic startle stimulus. The conditioned stimulus elicited a monophasic bradycardia in animals 21 days of age and older, but no response in younger animals. These results are strikingly similar to an earlier study that used shock as the US (Campbell & Ampuero, 1985). Further, the conditioned cardiac response in adults was found to be mediated entirely through activation of the parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) even though the US unconditionally activates the sympathetic system at that age. The delayed development of several different forms of conditioned fear is discussed.