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Lecture 3

PSYC 203 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Long-Term Potentiation, Neuroplasticity, Operant Conditioning

Course Code
PSYC 203
Christopher Bowie

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Guest Lecture – Neuroplasticity Lab Feb 26, 2016
Neuroplasticity is the ability of the nervous system to undergo changes in its anatomical,
chemical, and physiological/functional properties
Why this is of interest: behavioural changes (how the brain influences these changes),
how people regain function after brain damage,
The brain is plastic
Ramon y Cajal: expressed strong doubts regarding the ability of the CNS to express
Hebb: examined the influence of environment and on behaviour and “intelligence”; brains
are shaped by experience – they are plastic
Correlated neural activity strengthens synaptic connections
Close inter-connected cells for “cell assemblies”
Cells that fire together, wire together
Long term potentiation:
Baseline synaptic strength
High-frequency stimulation
Increased synaptic strength
Is a learning mechanism – inhibitory avoidance learning
Evidence that LTP is a synaptic memory mechanism:
Learning a task can elicit LTP in the brain
Inhibiting LTP can impair memory formation
It offers a model to study the synaptic, cellular, and molecular basis of neural
plasticity and memory formation
LTP can used to probe:
Plasticity during brain development and aging
oCritical/sensitive period – specific temporal windows od heightened neuronal
plasticity, followed by greater resistance to change
oThe young brain is more plastic than an older brain
Effects of neurotransmitters on brain plasticity
Effects of drugs on plasticity
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