Lectures 1 & 3

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  • Created on: 14-05-14 12:18
What is the general theory of learning?
Memory can be defined as a lasting representation reflected in thought, experience, and behaviour. Learning is the acquisition of such representations. Memory is an outcome, or objective of learning, but not the whole purpose of the learning process.
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What are the functional elements of learning?
Stimulus; Reinforcement; Reward; Repetition; Delay.
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What are the two main types of memory classification (humans)?
Declarative (conscious) and non-Declarative (non-conscious).
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What are the subdivisions of declarative or conscious memory?
Semantic (facts) and episodic (events).
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What are the subdivisions of non-declarative or non-conscious memory?
Skills (motor, perceptual, cognitive; adaptation level), priming (perceptual, semantic; shifts in judgement and preference), dispositions (biases and implicit goals) and non-associative (habituation and sensitization).
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What are the two main divisions of learning in animals?
Simple and complex learning.
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What are the two types of simple learning?
Classical (Pavlov, 1927) and operant conditioning (Skinner, 1930).
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Give examples of types of complex learning.
Imprinting, latent learning, vicarious learning and motor learning.
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Describe the features of classical conditioning (Pavlov's dogs, 1927).
A UCS e.g. food is paired with a CS e.g. a bell ringing to produce a UCR e.g. salivation. Over time / enough trials the CS (bell) alone will produce a CR (salivation).
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What do UCS, CS, UCR and CR stand for?
UCS - unconditioned stimulus, CS - conditioned stimulus, UCR - unconditioned response, and CR - conditioned response.
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Name 3 phases of classical conditioning.
Acquisition, extinction and spontaneous recovery.
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Define what is meant by 'acquisition' in classical conditioning.
Training period when a response is strengthened. Is the principle that increased presentation of paired stimulus increases response.
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Define what is meant by 'extinction' in classical conditioning.
Weakening of a conditioned response through removal of reinforcement. Is the principle that removal of reward decreases response.
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Define what is meant by 'spontaneous recovery' in classical conditioning.
Reappearance of a learned response following apparent extinction. Idea that presentation of paired stimulus and reward post-extinction results in recovered learning.
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What is the definition of 'operant learning' (Skinner,1930)?
Learning based on the consequences of responding; we associate responses with their consequences.
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What is the 'law of effect' (Thorndike)?
The probability of a response is altered by the effect it has; responses that lead to desired effects are repeated; those that lead to undesired effects are not.
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Define an 'operant reinforcer'.
Any event that follows a response and increases its likelihood of recurring.
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Describe a 'Skinner box'.
A chamber that contains a bar or key that an animal (usually a rat) can press or manipulate in order to obtain or avoid a type of reinforcement.
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What is 'reversal' in operant conditioning?
After the animal has learnt the first rule, the rule is changed or switched, in order to investigate how long it will take them to learn the new rule. This can give us a measure of 'cognitive flexibility'.
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Which circuit in the brain can be linked to 'cognitive flexibility'?
The corticostriatal circuit.
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Why do patients with, for example, Huntington's and Parkinson's struggle with 'cognitive flexibility'?
As they have damage to the corticostriatal circuit.
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What does Dunnett et al's (2005) paper summarise?
The prefrontal cortex is considered to provide executive control of response selection and planning in diverse cognitive tasks – corticostriatal circuit.
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What does Dunnett et al's (2005) paper find?
Lesions to corticostriatal circuit disrupts rats' abilities to perform delayed alternation, the classic test of prefrontal function (cognitive task).
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What does Dunnett et al's (2005) paper conclude from results?
An intact cortico-striatal pathway is necessary to sustain performance on a classical prefrontal task, and provide a model within which to assess circuit reconstruction with novel cell therapies for brain repair.
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How can we transplant new cells into the striatum?
By using a graft
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What does Brasted et al's (1999) paper summarise?
Striatal lesions disrupt motor + cognitive performance in rats – can be restored by striatal transplants. As Striatum is involved in forming + maintenance of motor habits, hypoth. that grafted animals may need exp. retraining to relearn these.
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What does Brasted et al's (1999) paper use to assess performance?
Used lateralized-discrimination task to reproduce “learning to use transplant” effect with transfer-of-training paradigm.
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What does Brasted et al's (1999) paper conclude?
Shown that recovery requires specific lateralized stimulus-response associations and cant be explained simply by a generalise training depending improvement in motor skill.
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What does Mazzochi-Jones et al's (1999) paper show?
Embryonic striatal grafts form functional connections with host striatal circuitry, capable of restoring stable synaptic transmission. This enables the expression of host–graft bi-directional synaptic plasticity similar to normal CS circuit.
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What do Mazzochi-Jones et al's (1999) conclude from results?
striatal grafts express synaptic correlates of learning, and thereby provide direct evidence of functional neuronal circuit repair, an essential component of ‘functional integration’.
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What are the two main factors effecting operant performance?
Stimulus (Negative vs Positive reinforcement; Need vs Desire; Link to Addiction) and rulecomplexitiy (Delay between presentation and execution; Discrimination between stimuli - Addiction)
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What does Ragozzino's (1998) paper suggest?
Amygdala lesions ablate negative reinforcement effect
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What do VTA (ventral tegmental area) lesions affect?
Ablate positive reinforcement effect
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What did Niv et al's (2006) paper show?
Performance is influenced by need (evidence for food restriction)
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Name one structure that is involved in stimulus discrimination.
The thalamus.
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Define cued alternation.
Associative stimuli presented during trial.
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Define delayed alternation.
Associative stimuli not present during trial. Hence requires working memory to remember the rule.
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What did Jones and Wilson's (2005) paper show?
There is coordination between the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex rhythms in spatial memory tasks.
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What did Jones and Wilson's (2005) conclude from results?
mechanisms and functions of the phenomena remain unclear, though the robust correlation between firing phase and location of the animal has lead to the suggestion that this phase relationship constitutes a temporal code for spatial information.
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