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Nils Kasties, Sarah Starosta, Onur Güntürkün, Maik C Stüttgen
Animals exploit visual information to identify objects, form stimulus-reward associations, and prepare appropriate behavioral responses. The nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL), an associative region of the avian endbrain, contains neurons exhibiting prominent response modulation during presentation of reward-predicting visual stimuli, but it is unclear whether neural activity represents valuation signals, stimulus properties, or sensorimotor contingencies. To test the hypothesis that NCL neurons represent stimulus value, we subjected pigeons to a Pavlovian sign-tracking paradigm in which visual cues predicted rewards differing in magnitude (large vs...
October 20, 2016: Scientific Reports
Hillary C Schiff, Joshua P Johansen, Mian Hou, David Ea Bush, Emily K Smith, JoAnna E Klein, Joseph E LeDoux, Robert M Sears
Memory formation requires the temporal coordination of molecular events and cellular processes following a learned event. During Pavlovian threat (fear) conditioning (PTC), sensory and neuromodulatory inputs converge on post-synaptic neurons within the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA). By activating an intracellular cascade of signaling molecules, these G-protein-coupled neuromodulatory receptors are capable of recruiting a diverse profile of plasticity-related proteins. Here we report that norepinephrine, through its actions on β-adrenergic receptors (βARs), modulates aversive memory formation following PTC through two molecularly and temporally distinct signaling mechanisms...
October 20, 2016: Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Saurabh Khemka, Athina Tzovara, Samuel Gerster, Boris B Quednow, Dominik R Bach
Pavlovian fear conditioning is widely used as a laboratory model of associative learning in human and nonhuman species. In this model, an organism is trained to predict an aversive unconditioned stimulus from initially neutral events (conditioned stimuli, CS). In humans, fear memory is typically measured via conditioned autonomic responses or fear-potentiated startle. For the latter, various analysis approaches have been developed, but a systematic comparison of competing methodologies is lacking. Here, we investigate the suitability of a model-based approach to startle eyeblink analysis for assessment of fear memory, and compare this to extant analysis strategies...
October 18, 2016: Psychophysiology
J E LeDoux, J Moscarello, R Sears, V Campese
Research on avoidance conditioning began in the late 1930s as a way to use laboratory experiments to better understand uncontrollable fear and anxiety. Avoidance was initially conceived of as a two-factor learning process in which fear is first acquired through Pavlovian aversive conditioning (so-called fear conditioning), and then behaviors that reduce the fear aroused by the Pavlovian conditioned stimulus are reinforced through instrumental conditioning. Over the years, criticisms of both the avoidance paradigm and the two-factor fear theory arose...
October 18, 2016: Molecular Psychiatry
Amanda C Sharko, Jim R Fadel, Kris F Kaigler, Marlene A Wilson
Identifying the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie differential sensitivity to stress is critical for understanding the development and expression of stress-induced disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Preclinical studies have suggested that rodents display different phenotypes associated with extinction of Pavlovian conditioned fear responses, with some rodent populations being resistant to extinction. An emerging literature also suggests a role for orexins in the consolidation processes associated with fear learning and extinction...
October 13, 2016: Physiology & Behavior
Heidi C Meyer, David J Bucci
Mounting evidence indicates that adolescents exhibit heightened sensitivity to rewards and reward-related cues compared to adults, and that adolescents are often unable to exert behavioral control in the face of such cues. Moreover, differences in reward processing during adolescence have been linked to heightened risk taking and impulsivity. However, little is known about the processes by which adolescents learn about the appetitive properties of environmental stimuli that signal reward. To address this, Pavlovian conditioning procedures were used to test for differences in excitatory conditioning between adult and adolescent rats using various schedules of reinforcement...
October 11, 2016: Physiology & Behavior
Brenna M Flannery, Donald A Bruun, Douglas J Rowland, Christopher N Banks, Adam T Austin, David L Kukis, Yonggang Li, Byron D Ford, Daniel J Tancredi, Jill L Silverman, Simon R Cherry, Pamela J Lein
BACKGROUND: Acute intoxication with organophosphorus (OP) cholinesterase inhibitors can trigger convulsions that progress to life-threatening status epilepticus. Survivors face long-term morbidity including mild-to-severe decline in memory. It is posited that neuroinflammation plays a key role in the pathogenesis of OP-induced neuropsychiatric deficits. Rigorous testing of this hypothesis requires preclinical models that recapitulate relevant phenotypic outcomes. Here, we describe a rat model of acute intoxication with the OP diisopropylfluorophosphate (DFP) that exhibits persistent neuroinflammation and cognitive impairment...
October 12, 2016: Journal of Neuroinflammation
Mihee Song, Yong Sang Jo, Yeon-Kyung Lee, June-Seek Choi
The lateral habenula (LHb) is an epithalamic brain structure that provides strong projections to midbrain monoaminergic systems that are involved in motivation, emotion, and reinforcement learning. LHb neurons are known to convey information about aversive outcomes and negative prediction errors, suggesting a role in learning from aversive events. To test this idea, we examined the effects of electrolytic lesions of the LHb on signaled two-way active avoidance learning in which rats were trained to avoid an unconditioned stimulus (US) by taking a proactive shuttling response to an auditory conditioned stimulus (CS)...
October 9, 2016: Behavioural Brain Research
Sheketha R Hauser, Gerald A Deehan, Christopher P Knight, Jamie E Toalston, William J McBride, Zachary A Rodd
BACKGROUND: Drug-paired environments can act as stimuli that elicit drug craving. In humans, drug craving is influenced by the amount of time abstinent, number of past periods of abstinence, and inadvertent exposure to the previously abused drug. The current experiments were designed to determine the effects of (a) the duration of abstinence on expression of EtOH-seeking; (b) EtOH priming following a short and long abstinence period; and (c) repeated deprivation cycles on relapse drinking and EtOH-seeking...
October 2016: Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research
Sydney Trask, Eric A Thrailkill, Mark E Bouton
An occasion setter is a stimulus that modulates the ability of another stimulus to control behavior. A rich history of experimental investigation has identified several important properties that define occasion setters and the conditions that give rise to occasion setting. In this paper, we first consider the basic hallmarks of occasion setting in Pavlovian conditioning. We then review research that has examined the mechanisms underlying the crucial role of context in Pavlovian and instrumental extinction. In Pavlovian extinction, evidence suggests that the extinction context can function as a negative occasion setter whose role is to disambiguate the current meaning of the conditioned stimulus; the conditioning context can also function as a positive occasion setter...
October 6, 2016: Behavioural Processes
Vincent D Costa, Olga Dal Monte, Daniel R Lucas, Elisabeth A Murray, Bruno B Averbeck
Reinforcement learning (RL) theories posit that dopaminergic signals are integrated within the striatum to associate choices with outcomes. Often overlooked is that the amygdala also receives dopaminergic input and is involved in Pavlovian processes that influence choice behavior. To determine the relative contributions of the ventral striatum (VS) and amygdala to appetitive RL, we tested rhesus macaques with VS or amygdala lesions on deterministic and stochastic versions of a two-arm bandit reversal learning task...
September 28, 2016: Neuron
Christine A Rabinak, Shoko Mori, Maryssa Lyons, Mohammed R Milad, K Luan Phan
BACKGROUND: Fear-based disorders, like social anxiety disorder (SAD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are characterized by an exaggerated fear response and avoidance to trigger cues, suggesting a transdiagnostic mechanism of psychopathology. Current theories suggest that abnormalities in conditioned fear is a primary contributor to the pathophysiology of these disorders. The primary goal of this study was to compare acquisition of conditioned stimulus (CS) and aversive unconditioned stimulus (US) contingencies during fear learning and extinction in individuals with SAD and PTSD...
September 23, 2016: Journal of Affective Disorders
Marlene A Wilson, Jim R Fadel
Cholinergic activation regulates cognitive function, particularly long-term memory consolidation. This Review presents an overview of the anatomical, neurochemical, and pharmacological evidence supporting the cholinergic regulation of Pavlovian contextual and cue-conditioned fear learning and extinction. Basal forebrain cholinergic neurons provide inputs to neocortical regions and subcortical limbic structures such as the hippocampus and amygdala. Pharmacological manipulations of muscarinic and nicotinic receptors support the role of cholinergic processes in the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex in modulating the learning and extinction of contexts or cues associated with threat...
October 5, 2016: Journal of Neuroscience Research
Sheketha R Hauser, Gerald A Deehan, Christopher P Knight, Jamie E Toalston, William J McBride, Zachary A Rodd
BACKGROUND: Drug-paired environments can act as stimuli that elicit drug craving. In humans, drug craving is influenced by the amount of time abstinent, number of past periods of abstinence, and inadvertent exposure to the previously abused drug. The current experiments were designed to determine the effects of (i) the duration of abstinence on expression of ethanol (EtOH)-seeking; (ii) EtOH priming following a short and long abstinence period; and (iii) repeated deprivation cycles on relapse drinking and EtOH-seeking...
October 2016: Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research
R K W Schwarting, S Busse
When parts of the brain suffer from damage, certain functional deficits or impairments are the expected and typical outcome. A myriad of examples show such negative consequences, which afford the daily tasks of neurologists, neuropsychologists, and also behavioral neuroscientists working with experimental brain lesions. Compared to lesion-induced deficits, examples for functional enhancements or facilitation after brain lesions are rather rare and usually not well studied. Here, the mammalian hippocampus seems to provide an exception, since substantial evidence shows that its damage can have facilitatory behavioral effects under certain conditions...
September 28, 2016: Behavioural Brain Research
Louise Bezzina, Jessica C Lee, Peter F Lovibond, Ben Colagiuri
Reward cues can contribute to overconsumption of food and drugs and can relapse. The failure of exposure therapies to reduce overconsumption and relapse is generally attributed to the context-specificity of extinction. However, no previous study has examined whether cue-elicited reward-seeking (as opposed to cue-reactivity) is sensitive to context renewal. We tested this possibility in 160 healthy volunteers using a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (PIT) design involving voluntary responding for a high value natural reward (chocolate)...
September 20, 2016: Behaviour Research and Therapy
Hadley C Bergstrom
Memories of threatening, fear-evoking events can persist even over a lifetime. While fear memory is widely considered to be a highly persistent and durable form of memory, its circuits are not. This article reviews the dynamic temporal representation of remote fear memory in the brain, at the level of local circuits and distributed networks. Data from the study of Pavlovian cued fear conditioning suggests memory retrieval remains amygdala-dependent, even over protracted time scales, all the while interconnected cortical and subcortical circuits are newly recruited and progressively reorganized...
September 28, 2016: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Nathaniel G Harnett, Joshua R Shumen, Pooja A Wagle, Kimberly H Wood, Muriah D Wheelock, James H Baños, David C Knight
Learning the temporal relationship between a warning cue (conditioned stimulus; CS) and aversive threat (unconditioned stimulus; UCS) is an important aspect of Pavlovian conditioning. Although prior functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research has identified brain regions that support Pavlovian conditioning, it remains unclear whether these regions support time-related processes important for this type of associative learning. Elucidating the neural substrates of temporal conditioning is important for a complete understanding of the Pavlovian conditioning process...
September 28, 2016: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Emilio Cartoni, Bernard Balleine, Gianluca Baldassarre
Reward-related cues are an important part of our daily life as they often influence and guide our actions. This paper reviews one of the experimental paradigms used to study the effects of cues, the Pavlovian to Instrumental Transfer paradigm. In this paradigm, cues associated with rewards through Pavlovian conditioning alter motivation and choice of instrumental actions. The first transfer experiments date back to the 1940's, but only in the last decade has it been fully recognised that there are two types of transfer, specific and general...
September 27, 2016: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
John P O'Doherty, Jeffrey Cockburn, Wolfgang M Pauli
In this review, we summarize findings supporting the existence of multiple behavioral strategies for controlling reward-related behavior, including a dichotomy between the goal-directed or model-based system and the habitual or model-free system in the domain of instrumental conditioning and a similar dichotomy in the realm of Pavlovian conditioning. We evaluate evidence from neuroscience supporting the existence of at least partly distinct neuronal substrates contributing to the key computations necessary for the function of these different control systems...
September 28, 2016: Annual Review of Psychology
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