Plasticity in the Central Nervous System: Learning and Memory

Plasticity in the Central Nervous System: Learning and Memory

Plasticity in the Central Nervous System: Learning and Memory

Plasticity in the Central Nervous System: Learning and Memory

Synopsis

Catalyzed by the development of new neurobiological and behavioral techniques as well as new conceptual and theoretical approaches to the study of the relationship between brain and behavior, research exploring brain functions enabling learning and memory has greatly accelerated in recent years. The chapters in this book reflect current theoretical approaches to the study of brain and memory and provide new insights concerning the cellular bases of memory and the differential involvement of brain systems in different forms of memory. By presenting up-to-date summaries of research investigating brain mechanisms underlying learning and memory, these chapters help to place current findings in appropriate theoretical context, and further stimulate research inquiry attempting to understand how the brain makes memory.

Divided into three sections, coverage in this volume includes:

• a discussion of pharmacological approaches to the study of brain and memory;

• a review of experiments using a variety of techniques, including brain lesions, brain grafting, and electrophysiological recording to investigate the role of different brain regions in learning and memory; and

• an examination of molecular analyses of events associated with memory formation.

Excerpt

Research exploring the brain functions that enable learning and memory has greatly accelerated in recent years. the rapid pace of research was catalyzed by the development of new neurobiological and behavioral techniques, as well as by new conceptual and theoretical approaches to the study of the relationship between brain and behavior. the chapters in this book reflect current theoretical approaches to the study of brain and memory and provide new insights concerning the cellular bases of memory and the differential involvement of brain systems in different forms of memory.

In the opening chapter, John Garcia discusses current strategies used in experiments investigating learning and memory and emphasizes the critical importance of pursuing behavioral research in a biological context. Behavioral neuroscience research requires special efforts to link the findings of behavioral and brain research. the success of recent behavioral neuroscience research in bridging this critical gap is amply demonstrated in the subsequent chapters of the book.

The chapters by McGaugh and colleagues, Izquierdo, and Prado-Alcalá then discuss pharmacological approaches to the study of brain and memory. McGaugh's chapter summarizes recent research examining the interaction of peripheral adrenergic and central noradrenergic system with cholinergic, opioid peptidergic, and GABAergic systems in regulating memory storage. Findings of studies investigating the effects of intra-amygdala injections of drugs, as well as lesions of amygdala nuclei, indicate that the amygdala is involved in integrating the neuromodulatory systems activated by learning experiences and regulating memory storage in other brain regions. Studies investigating the effects of drugs administered into the amygdala, entorhinal cortex, or hippocampus after training . . .

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