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Lecture 6

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 2TT3
Professor
Reuven Dukas
Semester
Fall

Description
PNB  2XC3   Week  6   Oct.  15,  2013   Genetics  of  learning  &  memory   • We  know  the  genetic   &  neurobiological  pathways  leading  from  learning  to  LTM  in  flies .   • LTM  depends  on  CREB  (Cyclic  AMP-­‐Responsive  Element  Binding)  protein   • Genetic  manipulation  of  learning  ability  in  flies :   o Create  flies  w/  over-­‐expression  of A CREB  &  compare  their  learning  ability  to  control  wild -­‐type  flies   • Drug  manipulation  of  learning  ability  in  mice :   o Treat  mice  w/  a  drug  that A ↑  CREB  activity  &  compare  their  learning  ability  to  control  wild -­‐type  mice     Massed  vs.  spaced  training   or  Cramming  vs.  repeated  studying   • Flies  received  training  sessions  each   consisting  of  1  odor  temporally  paired  w/  shock  &  1  odor  paired  w/  no  shock.   • The  spaced  group  received  10  sessions  separated  by  15  min  breaks .   • The  massed  group  received  48  sessions  w/  no  break  (the  same  total  training  duration) .   • Human  subjects  could  memorize  the  same  material  either:   o 8  times  successively  over  1  day   o 2  distinct  times  a  day  over  4  days   o After  training,  each  group   received  3  tests  on  days  0  (immediately  following  training),  1   &  7     Effects  of  midterm  on  final  exam  score   • Students  read  text  &  were  assigned  into  ¼  treatments:  No  test,  MC  test,  MC  test  w/  feedback  after  each  q,  MC  test   w/  feedback  after  whole  test.  Final  short  answer  test  a  week  later     Summary   • Behavioural,  genetic,  &  neurobiological  research  in  simple  animal  models  has  formed  the  foundation  for  the   development  of  memory  enhancing  drugs  in   humans.  Ethical  implications??   • Make  sure  you  understand  the  distinct ion  among  evolution,  innate  behaviour,  &  learning.     Bumblebees  &  Flowers   • Tendency  to  fly  to  flowers  for  food  is  adaptive.   • A  typical  bee  habitat  contain s  hundreds  of  plant  species  w/  flowers  in  a  variety  of  smells,  colours  &  shapes.   • Diff  flower  species  have  diff  amounts  of  nectar   &  pollen.  Diff  areas  have  diff  plant  species .  Diff  flowers  bloom  at  diff   time.  In  other  words,  there  is  variation  among  flower  species  in  time  &  space.   • Conclusion:  An  inexperienced  bee  can’t  know  which  flower  is  the  best  in  its  area   • Solution:  The  bee  samples  diff  species   &  learns  which  is  the  best  in  that  bee’s  specific  time  &  place  (learning  through   experience)   • When  is  innate  behaviour  sufficient?   When  there’s  strong  association  over  many  generations  b/w  a  cu e  &  an   environmental  feature  (i.e.  flowers  =  food) .   • When  is  learning  adaptive?   When  there’s  no  persistent  association  over  many  generations  b/w  a  cue   &  an   environmental  feature,  but  there  is  such  association  over  some  portion  of  an  individual’ s  life  (i.e.  flower  colour   doesn’t  indicate  relative  quality,  but,  after  sampling,  a  bee  can  know  that  the  blue  flowers  are  best   now).     Learning  as  an  adaptive  trait   • Should  animals  learn  everything?  NO.  Although  learning  is  beneficial,  it  also  has  costs  (time,  brain  tissue,   maintenance).   • What  info  is  valuable?   Anything  leading  to  ↑  fitness.   • How  do  animals  know  what  info  is  worth  learning?   They  rely  on  evolved  innate  biases,  evolved  emotions  (fear,   sadness,  happiness,  love),  &  repetition  (of  relevant  info).   • Animals  are  more  likely  to  attend  to   &  learn  valuable  info.   • Emperor  Penguins:  Parents  &  chicks  learn  individual  specific  calls  (sound  more  useful  than  sight  b/c  dark  4  months   of  the  year).   • Kittiwakes  (sea  gulls):  Recognize  own  nest  spot  but  neither  eggs  nor  chicks.   • Parent-­‐chick  recognition   o Wide  variation  among  birds  in  learning  to  recognize  parents   &  chicks   o Diff  bird  species  learn  distinct  info,  which  is  most  valuable  in  their  specific  ecological  settings       Biases  in  aversion  learnin g   • Rats  were  trained  to  drink  fro m  a  tube  of  water  sweetened  w/  saccharin.   • They  heard  a  buzzer  each  time  they  licked
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