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Outline11f09r - Outline 11 Learning Memory Neural...

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1 Outline 11: Learning, Memory & Neural Plasticity- Part 1 (Cont.) Book Chapter Readings for this outline: Sections 11.6-11.8, 9.2-9.4 III. Hippocampal Place Cells (cont) Cells that are most active when a rat is in a particular position relative to stable cues in the environment. A. Place cell properties: 1. Location specific-Intense activity only when a rat is in a certain position in the environment 2. Place fields develop within minutes in a new environment and are stable for weeks to months (maybe longer) 3. The same cell can have stable representations of different places within different environments 4. Place cells do not make up a topographic representation of space within hippocampus 5. Place cells can vary dependent upon what the rat is doing in the environment (e.g., goal directed versus random search for food pellets) B. Does the hippocampus form a cognitive map of space? Some believe that a major function of the hippocampus is to form cognitive maps of space. Others think that spatial processing by the hippocampus is just one component of a larger function, that of forming relationships between individual items in memory. (The "configural association theory" mentioned in the book is an example.) In potential support of the latter, hippocampal neurons do respond to stimuli other than spatial positions, e.g., “head direction cells”, “cue cells” and “stimulus sequence cells”
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2 IV. Considerations for finding the "engram " -Localization of Function -Distributed Processing -Hierarchical pathways -Parallel pathways It is now quite clear that (1) the same type of learning can involve changes in many different brain regions. (2) different types of learning can involve changes in different brain regions. (3) the same brain region can mediate different types of learning. Learning, Memory and Neural Plasticity, Part II: ************************************************ How does the brain change? ************************************************ I. Background Donald Hebb (1949) The Organization of Behavior Hebb's Neurophysiological Postulate: "When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficiency, as one of the cells firing B is increased." Today - Hebbian synapses are those which are enhanced by coincident activity between the pre-synaptic and post-synaptic neuron i.e., coincident pre- and post-synaptic activity enhances the efficacy of the connections between neurons A and B This could work by (1) increasing the strength, or "efficacy", of existing synapses and (2) changing the numbers of synapses II. Long-term potentiation (LTP) - an example of how synapses may become more efficacious LTP is a long lasting increase in neuronal activity induced by afferent activation (activation of the input to the neurons)
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3 A. Some terms: pre-synaptic post-synaptic
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