PSYC 2330 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Benzodiazepine, Memory Hole, Caffeine

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23 Mar 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
PSYC*2330 Lecture 13 (Week 6)
Week Lecture 6 (b)
Stimulation of the medial forebrain bundle (MFB):
a. Maintain self-stimulation behaviour
b. feels great
c. is rewarding
d. can also be used to punish behaviour
e. has no effect on memory consolidation
answer = a
***** every time you see an answer that says rewarding itʼs probably wrong
Why is a Reinforcer Reinforcing
- A reinforcer is an event that follows a response and changes the probability that the
response will be emitted in the future
- How can an event change behaviour when the new behaviour occurs in the absence
of the event
Enhancement of Memory Consolidation - reinforcing events enhance the acquisition
and storage of information in the brain
Attribution of Conditioned Motivation - Learning is the formation of representations
of the relationships among objects and events. A representation of a reinforcer will
motivate behaviour
- this is how memory changes our behaviour - memory is stronger and memory as an
emotional component
- reinforcers are reinforcing is because makes memory stronger and embeds the
memory with motivational significance
- you have memory traces of events that follow the experience
- if the memory trace is followed by a reinforcer while the memory is still happening
- then the reinforcer will do 2 things in parallel 1) enhance the strength of the memory
trace (will more likely to remember it next time) and 2) act on the representation of the
stimuli and responses to add motivation to it
- memory becomes stronger but also more important
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Enhancement of Memory Consolidation
- first stage whereby memory goes from a fragile state to a more permanent state in the
- a good analogy is a pottery where you create a pot and you can change it (fragile) and
as you wait time, the pottery will become hard (permanent state)
- you can interfere with the memory, you can make it weaker and stronger
- first demonstration was learning other information e.g. if you go learn a microbiology
course right after this class, the new information will interfere with the memory of this
class - shows why itʼs not good to study last minute
- ECT - effective for temporary elevation of depression, the problem is that it creates
temporary amnesia, e.g. if you memorize something in the morning, then go and get
an ECT the memory is going through consolidation and the ECT will erase the memory
of the last 6 or 7 hours
- same this with trauma, there will be a gap memory hole, not forever but maybe the
week or day prior to the accident - recent memories are more likely to be interfered
- as you can lose memories by interfering brain activities through the consolidation
period, you can also make them stronger through 2 ways: 1) emotional events 2) if you
encounter a reinforcing stimulus during consolidation
- doesnʼt have to be a memory related to the stimuli
Huston (1974) Passive Avoidance Task
- food was the reinforcing stimulus
Group 1: fed in their home cage immediately after the training session
Group 2: fed in their home cage hours after the training session
Results: Group 1 remained on the platform longer than Group 2
- animals that were fed after learning, remembered better that they were trained
- food can enhance memory
This Experiment Shows:
1. that food reinforcer influenced the animalsʼ behaviour by strengthening the
representation of the contingent relationship between stepping down and shock
2. that the animals learned nothing about the rewarding motivating properties
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