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Behavioral Neuroscience

Muriah D Wheelock, Deshpande Rangaprakash, Nathaniel G Harnett, Kimberly H Wood, Tyler R Orem, Sylvie Mrug, Douglas A Granger, Gopikrishna Deshpande, David C Knight
Cognitive and emotional functions are supported by the coordinated activity of a distributed network of brain regions. This coordinated activity may be disrupted by psychosocial stress, resulting in the dysfunction of cognitive and emotional processes. Graph theory is a mathematical approach to assess coordinated brain activity that can estimate the efficiency of information flow and determine the centrality of brain regions within a larger distributed neural network. However, limited research has applied graph-theory techniques to the study of stress...
October 25, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Courtney Glavis-Bloom, Jocelyne Bachevalier
This study examined whether selective neonatal hippocampal lesions in monkeys ( Macaca mulatta ), which left the surrounding cortical areas (parahippocampal cortex) intact, affect contextual learning and memory compared with controls. Monkeys were tested with an automated touch-screen apparatus so that stimuli and contextual cues could be manipulated independently of one another. The data suggest that animals with neonatal hippocampal lesions have sparing of function with regard to contextual learning and memory when (a) contextual information is irrelevant or (b) relevant for good discrimination performance, and (c) when transferring a contextual rule to new discriminations...
October 25, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Hannah L Schoenberg, Emily X Sola, Ellen Seyller, Michael Kelberman, Donna J Toufexis
Habitual behavior can be advantageous by increasing the availability of cognitive resources for use in other tasks. However, habitual behaviors are problematic when they are coopted to prolong the maladaptive responding present in several psychopathologies such as substance abuse, dysregulated fear responding in posttraumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although sex differences exist in the occurrence or progression of these psychopathologies, there are no studies that compare the development of habitual behavior systematically in male and female animals...
October 25, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Adele J Kapellusch, Adam W Lester, Benjamin A Schwartz, Anne C Smith, Carol A Barnes
Young and aged animals were tested on a spatial alternation task that consisted of two interleaved components: (1) an "outbound" or alternation component (working memory) and (2) an "inbound" component, requiring the animal to remember to return to a central location in space (spatial memory). In the present study, aged rats made more outbound errors throughout testing, resulting in significantly more days to reach learning criterion, as compared to young rats. Furthermore, while all animals were able to learn the hippocampus-dependent inbound component of the task, most aged animals remained just above chance on the outbound component, even after extended testing days...
October 22, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Sarah A Jablonski, Patrese A Robinson-Drummer, William B Schreiber, Arun Asok, Jeffrey B Rosen, Mark E Stanton
The context preexposure facilitation effect (CPFE) is a variant of contextual fear conditioning in which learning about the context (preexposure) and associating the context with a shock (training) occur on separate occasions. The CPFE is sensitive to a range of neonatal alcohol doses (Murawski & Stanton, 2011). The current study examined the impact of neonatal alcohol on Egr-1 mRNA expression in the infralimbic (IL) and prelimbic (PL) subregions of the mPFC, the CA1 of dorsal hippocampus (dHPC), and the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA), following the preexposure and training phases of the CPFE...
October 22, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Ursula Debarnot, Chieko Huber, Aymeric Guillot, Sophie Schwartz
Limb immobilization paradigms are increasingly used to investigate changes in brain plasticity and support potential rehabilitation techniques that might help counteract motor impairments. Yet, it remains unclear how unilateral arm immobilization may influence the sensorimotor representation and functional output for both arms. Using a randomized crossover design, 14 participants underwent a baseline test, followed by two experimental conditions separated by 1 week: a right (dominant) arm immobilization phase over a period of 8 hr and a no-immobilization (or control) phase also lasting 8 hr...
October 8, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Maren Kleinmans, David K Bilkey
One of the cognitive symptoms observed in schizophrenia is decreased flexibility in several tasks, including reversal learning. Reversal learning has previously been tested in rats following maternal immune activation (MIA), a risk factor for schizophrenia, with varying results. Whereas some previous studies have shown that MIA rats are slower to learn a reversal, others have reported more rapid learning compared with controls. Several of these latter studies have, however, used a T-maze task with aversive, negative reinforcement as a motivating factor...
October 8, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Takeshi Enomoto, Naho Konoike, Atsushi Takemoto, Katsuki Nakamura, Kazuhito Ikeda
Effort-based decision-making paradigms have recently been used to measure motivation in healthy subjects and patients with neuropsychiatric disorders. In the present study, we developed a novel effort-discounting paradigm using a touch-panel system in common marmosets. Marmosets were trained to choose between a low-reward (a piece of cake) requiring low-effort (one touch response) versus high-reward (three pieces of cake) requiring one of three different effort levels (one, two, or four touch responses). Because the number of trials per session was kept constant, the selection of the high-reward choice was always the optimal strategy to receive the maximum number of rewards...
October 8, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Estefanía Orellana Barrera, Carlos Arias, Paula Abate
It is frequently assumed that infants are impaired in contextual memory and consequently, in recovery from extinction, a phenomenon considered to be context dependent. However, the evidence in the field is far from consistent with this interpretation, since several studies have shown context-dependent extinction in infant rats using a variety of procedures and behavioral measures. This discussion has primarily been based on studies using Pavlovian conditioning tasks. Three experiments were conducted to study reinstatement of an extinguished operant response and additionally to evaluate the context dependence of such an effect...
October 8, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Jonas K Olofsson, Elmeri Syrjänen, Ingrid Ekström, Maria Larsson, Stefan Wiens
In psychological experiments, behavioral speed varies across trials, and this variation is often associated with corresponding fluctuations in cortical activity. Little is known about such cortical variations in semantic priming tasks where target words are matched with preceding sensory object cues. Here, two visually presented target words ("pear" and "lilac") were repeatedly cued by corresponding odors or pictures, and the participants were to indicate matching or nonmatching combinations...
October 8, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Nora H Prior, Marie S A Fernandez, Hédi A Soula, Clémentine Vignal
Although steroids are widely known to affect behavior through activation of nuclear/cytosolic receptors ("genomic" effects), steroids can also rapidly affect behavior via modulation of signal transduction pathways ("nongenomic," fast actions, or rapid effects). In zebra finches, there is evidence that sex steroids have context-specific effects on pair-maintenance behavior, on both acute and chronic timescales. Here, we quantified the effects of orally administered testosterone and 17β-estradiol (E2) on pair-maintenance behavior...
October 4, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Jenny Zaehringer, Christian Schmahl, Gabriele Ende, Christian Paret
Down-regulation of negative emotions has been shown to reliably inhibit the emotion-modulated startle reflex, but it remains unclear whether the timing of the startle probe influences the quantification of emotion regulation with this measure. Moreover, it is not known whether the degree of startle inhibition corresponds to the subjective attenuation of negative emotions. Therefore, the two main goals of the study were, first, to systematically analyze the effect of probe time on startle inhibition and, second, to explore the association between subjectively perceived down-regulation of arousal and valence and the degree of startle inhibition...
October 4, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Monaliza Simone Lamana, Josiane Miranda, Gláucia Tobaldini, Luana Fischer, Cláudia Herrera Tambeli
The endogenous ability to decrease pain perception during life-threatening situations is crucial to the prevention of recuperative behaviors and to leave the subject free to engage in appropriated defensive responses. We have previously shown that acute pain activates the ascending nociceptive control-an endogenous analgesia circuit dependent on opioid mechanisms within nucleus accumbens-to facilitate the tonic immobility response, an innate defensive behavior. Now we asked whether chronic pain and pain chronification impairs either the tonic immobility response or the ability of acute pain to facilitate it by activating the ascending nociceptive control...
October 4, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Abigail L Kerr, Mark T Curtis, Michelle Dominguez, Victoria Viola
Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability, though current rehabilitative strategies fail to yield complete recovery. Focused training of the impaired limb improves functional outcome in rodents, but these strategies require intensive training that is difficult to practice in humans. Because aerobic exercise has been found to induce beneficial changes in the brain, it is a promising rehabilitative strategy after stroke. The current study investigated the effect of voluntary poststroke aerobic exercise on functional outcome in young and aged mice...
September 27, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Tyler M Milewski, Patrick T Orr
Acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) is a commonly used over-the-counter pain medication, but recent evidence suggests that a single exposure or prenatal exposure may have significant behavioral effects. This investigation aimed to determine whether acetaminophen could disrupt memory formation in an object-recognition task and to quantify potential changes in memory-related signaling cascades in the hippocampus of mice after acetaminophen administration. Using male mice, we examined the effect of a single subcutaneous injection of acetaminophen on the object-recognition task, a single-trial, hippocampus-dependent memory task...
August 30, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Katelyn L Black, Nina E Baumgartner, Jill M Daniel
We previously demonstrated that 40 days of prior midlife estradiol treatment results in enhanced spatial memory in aging ovariectomized rats long after termination of the estradiol treatment. Our current goal was to determine whether this benefit is due to lasting impacts on memory specifically of previous exogenous estradiol treatment or simply due to delaying cognitive deficits that occur following loss of ovarian hormones. Middle-aged rats were ovariectomized or underwent sham surgery. Ovariectomized rats received estradiol (Previous Estradiol) or vehicle (Previous Vehicle) implants...
August 30, 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Kiriana K Cowansage
Studies of learning and memory have made significant advances in characterizing the mechanisms of single memories, formed when surprising and unpredictable events trigger synaptic modifications in response to tightly timed coincidental cues. Yet outside the laboratory setting, few natural experiences are wholly unique, and much of our behavior is shaped progressively through the interactions of perceived experiences, recently formed memories and distant acquired knowledge. Despite the necessity of these memory dynamics, relatively little is known about how previously established associations are accessed, updated, and applied to inform new learning at the appropriate moments in time...
October 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Andrew J D Nelson, Anna L Powell, Lisa Kinnavane, John P Aggleton
The present study examined the effects of excitotoxic lesions in 2 closely related structures, the anterior thalamic nuclei and the retrosplenial cortex, on latent inhibition. Latent inhibition occurs when nonreinforced preexposure to a stimulus retards the subsequent acquisition of conditioned responding to that stimulus. Latent inhibition was assessed in a within-subject procedure with auditory stimuli and food reinforcement. As expected, sham-operated animals were slower to acquire conditioned responding to a stimulus that had previously been experienced without consequence, relative to a non-preexposed stimulus...
October 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Andrew J D Nelson, Emma L Hindley, Seralynne D Vann, John P Aggleton
The rodent retrosplenial cortex is known to be vital for spatial cognition, but evidence has also pointed to a role in processing nonspatial information. It has been suggested that the retrosplenial cortex may serve as a site of integration of incoming sensory information. To examine this proposal, the current set of experiments assessed the impact of excitotoxic lesions in the retrosplenial cortex on two behavioral tasks that tax animals' ability to process multiple and overlapping environmental stimuli. In Experiment 1, rats with retrosplenial lesions acquired a negative patterning discrimination, a form of configural learning that can be solved only by learning the conjunction of cues...
October 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
Elizabeth R Chrastil, Sean M Tobyne, Rachel K Nauer, Allen E Chang, Chantal E Stern
Interest in the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) has surged in recent years, as this region has been implicated in a range of cognitive processes. Previously reported anatomical and functional definitions of the human RSC encompass a larger area than expected from underlying cytoarchitectonic profiles. Here, we used a large-scale, unbiased, and data-driven approach combining functional MRI meta-analysis and resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) methods to test the nature of this heterogeneity. The automated toolset Neurosynth was used to conduct meta-analyses in order to (a) identify heterogeneous areas in the retrosplenial region (RS region) associated with one or more cognitive domains, and (b) contrast the activation profiles related to these domains...
October 2018: Behavioral Neuroscience
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