Eyeblink conditioning in schizophrenia: A critical review

Jerillyn S. Kent, Amanda R. Bolbecker, Brian F. O'Donnell, William P. Hetrick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


There is accruing evidence of cerebellar abnormalities in schizophrenia. The theory of cognitive dysmetria considers cerebellar dysfunction a key component of schizophrenia. Delay eyeblink conditioning (EBC), a cerebellar-dependent translational probe, is a behavioral index of cerebellar integrity. The circuitry underlying EBC has been well characterized by non-human animal research, revealing the cerebellum as the essential circuitry for the associative learning instantiated by this task. However, there have been persistent inconsistencies in EBC findings in schizophrenia. This article thoroughly reviews published studies investigating EBC in schizophrenia, with an emphasis on possible effects of antipsychotic medication and stimulus and analysis parameters on reports of EBC performance in schizophrenia. Results indicate a consistent finding of impaired EBC performance in schizophrenia, as measured by decreased rates of conditioning, and that medication or study design confounds do not account for this impairment. Results are discussed within the context of theoretical and neurochemical models of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number00146
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Issue numberDEC
StatePublished - 2015


  • Associative learning
  • Cerebellum
  • Cognitive dysmetria
  • Eyeblink conditioning
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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