Memory Consolidation: Psychobiology of Cognition

By Herbert Weingartner; Elizabeth S. Parker | Go to book overview

3 Endogenous Processes in Memory Consolidation

Paul E. Gold University of Virginia

James L. McGaugh Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and Department of Psychobiology University of California, Irvine


INTRODUCTION

Until relatively recently, the evidence that the brain is changed by experience was based solely on indirect behavioral assessments of changes: Training can produce long-lasting changes in behavior; therefore, the brain must, it would seem, be changed by experience. There is now abundant evidence that change does occur. One of the recent major advances in neurobiology is an ever-expanding list of long-term changes in brain structure and function elicited by training procedures and neural manipulation. Early demonstrations that animals raised in enriched or impoverished conditions differ in brain weight ( Rosenzweig & Bennett, 1978) were followed by anatomical evidence of precise remodeling of synaptic terminations following brain damage ( Lynch & Wells, 1978; Steward, 1982), as well as evidence of changes in dendritic branching patterns produced by differential experiences ( Floeter & Greenough, 1979; Juraska, Greenough, Elliot, Mack, & Berkowitz, 1980). Neurophysiological changes induced by stimulation include altered cell firing rates during conditioning ( Oleson, Ashe, & Weinberger, 1975; McCormick, Clark, Lavond, & Thompson, 1982), as well as long-lasting changes produced by electrical stimulation of certain brain areas, such as long-term potentiation ( Lynch, Browning, & Bennett, 1979; Goddard, 1980), and kindling ( Racine, 1978; McNamara, Byrne, Dashieff, & Fitz, 1980). Finally, biochemical studies have revealed changes in neurotransmitter receptor sensitivity under a variety of experimental and endogenous conditions ( Reisine, 1981) and long-term induction of transmitter-related enzyme activity and syn-

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