Cellular Mechanisms of Conditioning and Behavioral Plasticity

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I would like first to thank Charles Woody and his organizing committee for arranging the symposium on the Cellular Mechanisms of Conditioning and Behavioral Plasticity, which was also a satellite meeting of the International Union of Physiological Sciences 30th International Congress. The proceedings of this symposium are represented by the chapters that follow. During the 1970s, Dr. Woody and co-workers were able to carry out a remarkable series of microelectrode studies, both intracellular and extracellular, of cortical nerve cells during conditioning of the eye-blink response to sound in the intact waking cat. He demonstrated enduring changes in excitability and membrane resistance in pericruciate cortical cells during associative conditioning of the eye blink, changes that are facilitated by ACh and cGMP and reinforced by stimulation of the hypothalamus (the latter con- firming the original studies of Voronin). These findings have been of considerable im- portance in our attempt to understand the conditioning process at the cellular level.