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Lecture 10

PSY352H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Memory Consolidation, Implicit Memory, Conditioned Taste Aversion


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY352H5
Professor
Robert Gerlai
Lecture
10

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Friday, April 4, 2014
Lecture on Animal Learning and Memory
ANIMAL LEARNING
-Learning and memory are perhaps the most exciting phenomena among all
behaviours
learning allows adaptation to the environment the most flexible way
no need to wait for generations of selection (ex. evolutionary change)
modification of behaviour comes quickly due to experience
-Both learning and memory have been demonstrated in a wide variety of species
-Chimpanzees can learn complex tasks including sign language
-Dogs can learn to respond to large number of human signals appropriately
-Rats lean to navigate mazes to find reward
-Pigeons learn to peck at the appropriate button to obtain food
-Fish can learn to respond to light associated with the shock
-Fruit flies can associate odour cues with tapping
-Even worms, like the nematode can learn and remember by associative learning with
olfactory cues
-Learning and memory are crucial and thus had been demonstrated in a wide variety
of species. Learning and memory represent a series of processes that allow
experience dependent modification of behaviour
Learning: attending to stimuli, acquiring information about stimuli (associations)
Memory: consolidation of acquired information, storage of information, recall
(retrieval) of information
-There are many forms of learning and memory, there are many ways one could
classify or categorize these different forms. Whether these categories are due to
historical, pragmatic classifications or whether they represent biologically meaningful
distinct processes is a question under intense debate and investigation
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Friday, April 4, 2014
-Forms of learning:
NON ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING:
-habituation: which is becoming used to same stimulus after multiple response
-sensitization: opposite of habituation, your response is becoming enhanced as a
result of multiple exposures to the certain stimulus
-skill learning (motor learning): it uses some special part of your brain of non-
declarative memory (vs. declarative memory that you can recall when, how,
where and what exactly did you learn), and you cannot recall how did you learn
it. ex. tennis players, when they learn how to play tennis they actually do not
recall how exactly they move their muscles, they just do it
skill learning: motor learning in mice - mice in some device that is turning is
running around because they do not like to fall down from places
ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING:
-stimulus-stimulus association (classical conditioning)
Pavlovian conditioning: experiments with dogs and their salivation
-US: unconditioned stimulus (smelling of food) -> UR: unconditioned
response to the US (salivation)
-US + CS: conditioned stimulus, association (bell with food smelling)
-CS also -> CR: conditioned response = UR
there are many ways you can test this associative conditioning, we cannot look
in the brain, so we can just measure the behaviour and conclude from ti certain
conclusions
rat: in the training session, animal learns to fear tone because of its association
with electrical shock. Then, in the test 1 there is no exposure to the tone or
shock, only the rat is put the the same context where he was given the tone
and electrical shock, and rat freezes in response to the environment. In the test
2, there is re-exposure to the tone, but without the shock and the rat freezes
again only in response to tone, without the shock. So, an animal is capable of
this association learning that the shock is associated with certain context and
with the tone, and automatically freezes when presented with any one of them.
In case there is a problem with the hippocampus, the rats cannot associate the
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Friday, April 4, 2014
context with the shock, they are still able to associate tone with the shock, but
not the context with the shock.
rats in the water maze are able to learn the location of platform, after couple
days of training they can actually navigate there very fast
-a hippocampal dependent spatial learning vs. non-hippocampal dependent
control task. There is hidden platform task that test the spatial learning and
also the visible platform task that is part of non-spatial learning, the platform
is now visible.
-it is very important to know that hippocampus is central to memory, in case
there is some damage to your episodic memory, you are not gonna be able
to remember yourself, you face, who you are. If you have problems in spatial
memory you cannot remember where you put your keys, where is your
home, how to get home - it is related with the Alzheimer’s disease, so it is
very important to study these things in animals in order to be able to find
some treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in people.
-stimulus-response association (instrumental or operation conditioning)
conditioned taste aversion: if you ate something that made you really sick from
stomach, you might never be able to eat the same food ever again. The same
thing can happen to animals too. Rats tend to have neophobia, which is that
they do not eat novel foods because they can be poisonous. If they finally eat it
and it makes them sick, they will avoid the food in the future.
LATENT LEARNING: (no “external” reinforcement), but internal reinforcements
reinforce some particular behaviour
OBSERVATION BASED LEARNING: learning by observing others performing
tasks, higher order vertebrates, especially birds have this ability to learn from
watching others. Exposure to an individual who is doing certain task, can modify
response of another individual bird
CREATIVITY LEARNING: executive functioning, it is basically when after series of
trials you figure out common and underlying function of how things work, and based
on that you can actually modify your behaviour
-Constraints and genetic predispositions in learning: not everything can be learnt, and
not everything can be learnt with the same efficient or in the same manner
for example even easy task with hands is impossible to do for us without practicing
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