Eyeblink conditioning (EBC) is a widely used translational probe of cerebellar function in both humans and non-human animals. Decades of animal research have identified the cerebellum as critical for EBC. While there is evidence for the involvement of the cerebellum in human EBC, the neural circuitry of EBC in healthy humans has yet to be fully elucidated. The purpose of this study was to design and validate a highly customisable system for EBC stimulus presentation and response recording using infrared (IR) reflectance suitable for use in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) environments; in this way, the neural activity of EBC could be investigated using fMRI in humans. Four participants underwent delay EBC and simultaneous fMRI. The results indicate (1) a high signal-to-noise ratio in the IR reflectance data that effectively quantifies the eyeblink morphology and timing and (2) evidence of conditioning in the fMRI environment. The quality of the data, the feasibility of conducting EBC experiments in the fMRI environment, and the customisability of the current system to fit a variety of EBC experimental design parameters are discussed.
- Eyeblink conditioning
ASJC Scopus subject areas