Time stamp in conditioned place avoidance can be set to different circadian phases

Sean Cain, Robert J McDonald, Martin Roland Ralph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


We have reported that the expression of conditioned place avoidance (CPA) in the golden hamster is regulated in a circadian pattern such that the preference is exhibited strongly at the circadian time of prior training but not at other circadian times [Cain, S. W., Chou, T., Ralph, M. R. (2004a). Circadian modulation of performance on an aversion-based place learning task in hamsters. Behavioural Brain Research, 150(1?2), 201?205]. In that study, animals that were trained at a specific circadian time to discriminate between a ?safe? context and one paired with foot shock, showed strong avoidance of the paired context at 24 and 48 h following the last training session, and showed no avoidance at 32 and 40 h following training. In the present study, we hypothesized that this ?time stamp? effect is settable to any circadian phase. This was tested by training animals at one of two times of day (ZT13 or ZT4) and testing whether a time stamp would be observed, with avoidance occurring only when training and testing times match. Results confirmed our hypothesis, suggesting that the time stamp in the performance of learned tasks can be set to any circadian phase. Such an ability may allow animals in nature to predict the recurrence of 24 h events, regardless of the time of day the event was encountered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591 - 594
Number of pages4
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Cite this