Brief light as a practical aversive stimulus for the albino rat

David J. Barker, Federico Sanabria, Anne Lasswell, Eric A. Thrailkill, Anthony P. Pawlak, Peter R. Killeen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Bright light was an effective aversive stimulus for Wistar rats in punishment, escape, and avoidance paradigms. Contingent punishment of lever pressing maintained by concurrent schedules of food delivery shifted presses to an alternate lever, and depressed overall response rates. Periodic non-contingent presentation of the light prompted escape responding (head entry into a hole). Unsignaled avoidance contingencies were not effective, but pre-pulse signaling of light supported avoidance behavior. These results demonstrate a possible alternative to foot-shock, one with greater ecological validity, and one that might avoid some of the physiological effects that accompany electric shock.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-408
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Avoidance
  • Burrow
  • Escape
  • Light aversion
  • Punishment
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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