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Learning & Memory

Veronica L Flores, Tamar Parmet, Narendra Mukherjee, Sacha Nelson, Donald B Katz, David Levitan
The strength of learned associations between pairs of stimuli is affected by multiple factors, the most extensively studied of which is prior experience with the stimuli themselves. In contrast, little data is available regarding how experience with "incidental" stimuli (independent of any conditioning situation) impacts later learning. This lack of research is striking given the importance of incidental experience to survival. We have recently begun to fill this void using conditioned taste aversion (CTA), wherein an animal learns to avoid a taste that has been associated with malaise...
November 2018: Learning & Memory
Sarah E Bae, Rick Richardson
Recent studies have shown that exposure to a novel environment may stabilize the persistence of weak memories, a phenomenon often attributed to a process referred to as "behavioral tagging." While this phenomenon has been repeatedly demonstrated in adult animals, no studies to date have examined whether it occurs in infant animals, which is surprising given that infants exhibit an impaired ability to form long-term memories (LTMs). In the present study, infant (i.e., postnatal day (P) 17) rats were placed in a context and repeatedly shocked...
November 2018: Learning & Memory
Taichi Hatakeyama, Manami Sugita, Kazuo Yamada, Yukio Ichitani
Temporal order memory was analyzed using a spontaneous object recognition (SOR) paradigm in rats. In SOR, animals were allowed to explore freely two or five different objects sequentially in the sample phase, and then, two different objects shown in the sample phase were simultaneously presented, and exploration time of object shown earlier compared with that shown later was regarded as a discrimination index. Here we investigated the effects of (1) number of sample items, (2) sample exposure interval, and (3) retention time between the sample and test phases on temporal order memory in SOR...
November 2018: Learning & Memory
Anatoly Shneyer, Avi Mendelsohn
Declarative memory performance is superior for items that were encoded in temporal proximity to reward delivery or expectancy. How reward-predicting contexts affect subsequent declarative memory formation in those contexts are, however, unknown. Using an ecological experimental setup in the form of a naturalistic driving simulator task, we examined the effect that previously rewarded environments may have on incidental memory formation. After driving in two distinct environments, one of which associated with monetary reward, participants drove again in the environments, which were embedded with unique images on billboards...
November 2018: Learning & Memory
Angelos-Miltiadis Krypotos, Justin M Moscarello, Robert M Sears, Joseph E LeDoux, Isaac Galatzer-Levy
Signaled active avoidance (SigAA) is the key experimental procedure for studying the acquisition of instrumental responses toward conditioned threat cues. Traditional analytic approaches (e.g., general linear model) often obfuscate important individual differences, although individual differences in learned responses characterize both animal and human learning data. However, individual differences models (e.g., latent growth curve modeling) typically require large samples and onerous computational methods. Here, we present an analytic methodology that enables the detection of individual differences in SigAA performance at a high accuracy, even when a single animal is included in the data set (i...
November 2018: Learning & Memory
Rifka C Derman, Kevin Schneider, Shaina Juarez, Andrew R Delamater
When discrete localizable stimuli are used during appetitive Pavlovian conditioning, "sign-tracking" and "goal-tracking" responses emerge. Sign-tracking is observed when conditioned responding is directed toward the CS, whereas goal-tracking manifests as responding directed to the site of expected reward delivery. These behaviors seem to rely on distinct, though overlapping neural circuitries, and, possibly, distinct psychological processes as well, and are thought to be related to addiction vulnerability...
October 2018: Learning & Memory
Sylvie L Lesuis, Lisa A E Catsburg, Paul J Lucassen, Harm J Krugers
Multiple lines of evidence suggest that glucocorticoid hormones enhance memory consolidation of fearful events. However, most of these studies involve male individuals. Since anxiety, fear, and fear-associated disorders present differently in male and female subjects we investigated in mice whether male and female mice perform differently in a mild, auditory fear conditioning task and tested the modulatory role of glucocorticoid hormones. Using an auditory fear conditioning paradigm with different footshock intensities (0...
October 2018: Learning & Memory
Margaret Jia, Alessio Travaglia, Gabriella Pollonini, Giuseppe Fedele, Cristina M Alberini
The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) plays a critical role in complex brain functions including decision-making, integration of emotional, and cognitive aspects in memory processing and memory consolidation. Because relatively little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying its development, we quantified rat mPFC basal expression levels of sets of plasticity, synaptic, glia, and connectivity proteins at different developmental ages. Specifically, we compared the mPFC of rats at postnatal day 17 (PN17), when they are still unable to express long-term contextual and spatial memories, to rat mPFC at PN24, when they have acquired the ability of long-term memory expression and finally to the mPFC of adult rats...
October 2018: Learning & Memory
Gonzalo R Quintana, Andrés Guizar, Sarah Rassi, James G Pfaus
We have shown previously that male rats develop a conditioned ejaculatory preference (CEP) for females scented with a neutral odor like almond or lemon that is paired with the male's post-ejaculatory reward state during their first and subsequent early sexual experiences. However, preexposing males to the neutral odor alone prior to its pairing with sexual reward results in latent inhibition. Here, we examined the phenomenon of unconditioned stimulus (US) preexposure, in which male rats were preexposed to the ejaculatory reward state either one or five times with scented (ScF) versus unscented (UnScF) females prior to multiple ejaculatory trials with females in the opposite condition (e...
October 2018: Learning & Memory
Gonzalo R Quintana, Misha Jackson, Mojdeh Nasr, James G Pfaus
Early experiences with sexual reward play a pivotal role in the formation of sexual behavior and partner preference. Associations of salient partner cues, or even neutral cues on a partner, with sexual reward states are a product of Pavlovian learning. However, the extent to which first experiences that associate a neutral stimulus with no immediate consequence, and how that association may affect subsequent associability after being paired with a sexual reward state after copulation to ejaculation, remains unclear...
October 2018: Learning & Memory
Susan Cushman, John H Byrne
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 2018: Learning & Memory
Brian M Sweis, Mark J Thomas, A David Redish
Addiction is considered to be a neurobiological disorder of learning and memory because addiction is capable of producing lasting changes in the brain. Recovering addicts chronically struggle with making poor decisions that ultimately lead to relapse, suggesting a view of addiction also as a neurobiological disorder of decision-making information processing. How the brain makes decisions depends on how decision-making processes access information stored as memories in the brain. Advancements in circuit-dissection tools and recent theories in neuroeconomics suggest that neurally dissociable valuation processes access distinct memories differently, and thus are uniquely susceptible as the brain changes during addiction...
September 2018: Learning & Memory
Marc T J Exton-McGuinness, Amy L Milton
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder. The progression to pathological drug-seeking is thought to be driven by maladaptive learning processes which store and maintain associative memory, linking drug highs with cues and actions in the environment. These memories can encode Pavlovian associations which link predictive stimuli (e.g., people, places, and paraphernalia) with a hedonic drug high, as well as instrumental learning about the actions required to obtain drug-associated incentives. Learned memories are not permanent however, and much recent interest has been generated in exploiting the process of reconsolidation to erase or significantly weaken maladaptive memories to treat several mental health disorders, including addictions...
September 2018: Learning & Memory
Sean M Mooney-Leber, Thomas J Gould
During adolescence, the brain continues to undergo vital developmental processes. In turn, complex behavioral and cognitive skills emerge. Unfortunately, neurobiological development during adolescence can be influenced by environmental factors such as drug exposure. Engaging in drug use during adolescence has been a long-standing health concern, especially how it predicts or relates to drug using behavior later in life. However, recent findings suggest that other behavioral domains, such as learning and memory, are also vulnerable to adolescent drug use...
September 2018: Learning & Memory
Kyle K Pitchers, Martin Sarter, Terry E Robinson
Environmental cues associated with rewards can acquire motivational properties. However, there is considerable variation in the extent to which a reward cue gains motivational control over behavior, depending on the individual and the form of the cue. When a discrete cue is paired with food reward, it acquires greater control over motivated behavior in some rats (sign-trackers, STs) than others (goal-trackers, GTs) as indicated by the propensity to approach the cue, the willingness to work to obtain it, and its ability to reinstate reward-seeking behavior...
September 2018: Learning & Memory
Adam T Brockett, Heather J Pribut, Daniela Vázquez, Matthew R Roesch
Addiction has long been characterized by diminished executive function, control, and impulsivity management. In particular, these deficits often manifest themselves as impairments in reversal learning, delay discounting, and response inhibition. Understanding the neurobiological substrates of these behavioral deficits is of paramount importance to our understanding of addiction. Within the cycle of addiction, periods during and after withdrawal represent a particularly difficult point of intervention in that the negative physical symptoms associated with drug removal and drug craving increase the likelihood that the patient will relapse and return to drug use in order to abate these symptoms...
September 2018: Learning & Memory
Leslie R Whitaker, Bruce T Hope
Given that addiction has been characterized as a disorder of maladaptive learning and memory, one critical question is whether there are unique physical adaptations within neuronal ensembles that support addiction-related learned behavior. The search for the physical mechanisms of encoding these and other memories in the brain, often called the engram as a whole, continues despite decades of research. As we develop new technologies and tools that allow us to study cue- and behavior-activated Fos-expressing neuronal ensembles, the possibility of identifying the engrams of learning and memory is moving into the realm of reality rather than speculation...
September 2018: Learning & Memory
Rimas A Kubilius, Paul M Kaplick, Carsten T Wotjak
The prerequisites for responsible cannabis use are at the heart of current inquiries into cannabis decriminalization by policy makers as well as academic and nonacademic stakeholders at a global scale. Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9 -THC), the prime psychoactive compound of the cannabis sativa , as well as cannabimimetics that resemble the pharmacological properties and psychological effects of Δ9 -THC, lend themselves handsomely to the preclinical scrutiny of reward-related behavior because they carry marked translational value...
September 2018: Learning & Memory
Carl R Lupica, Alexander F Hoffman
The increasing use of cannabis, its derivatives, and synthetic cannabinoids for medicinal and recreational purposes has led to burgeoning interest in understanding the addictive potential of this class of molecules. It is estimated that ∼10% of marijuana users will eventually show signs of dependence on the drug, and the diagnosis of cannabis use disorder (CUD) is increasing in the United States. The molecule that sustains the use of cannabis is Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9 -THC), and our knowledge of its effects, and those of other cannabinoids on brain function has expanded rapidly in the past two decades...
September 2018: Learning & Memory
David M Lovinger, Karina P Abrahao
Alcohol use disorders include drinking problems that span a range from binge drinking to alcohol abuse and dependence. Plastic changes in synaptic efficacy, such as long-term depression and long-term potentiation are widely recognized as mechanisms involved in learning and memory, responses to drugs of abuse, and addiction. In this review, we focus on the effects of chronic ethanol (EtOH) exposure on the induction of synaptic plasticity in different brain regions. We also review findings indicating that synaptic plasticity occurs in vivo during EtOH exposure, with a focus on ex vivo electrophysiological indices of plasticity...
September 2018: Learning & Memory
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