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Eyeblink Conditioning in Psychiatric Conditions - State of the Field and Future Directions

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889452750 Year: Pages: 96 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-275-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Psychiatry
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:44
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Eyeblink classical conditioning (EBC) is a model paradigm for associative (also termed Pavlovian) learning, one of the simplest and best understood forms of learning and memory. Because EBC paradigms are readily adapted across species, the neural substrates of EBC have been well characterized, and include but are not limited to the cerebellum and anterior interpositus nucleus, the hippocampus, and prefrontal cortices. The ability to collect EBC data across many different species (i.e. including but not limited to humans) also has the distinct advantage of facilitating translational research, and therefore may be of particular benefit to elucidate mechanistic changes associated with a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. In fact, EBC paradigms have been employed to assess individuals with a wide range of neurological deficits (including Korsakoff’s amnesia, Alzheimer's disease as well as normal aging, dyslexia, inflammatory tremor, dystonia, and multiple sclerosis) and psychiatric disorders (including major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, autism, and alcohol use/addiction disorders). Individuals with these disorders exhibit differential impairments across different EBC task types (e.g., delay vs. trace EBC), with some showing impairment in one but not the other task and some showing impairments in both; across learning stage (e.g., acquisition, discrimination, or extinction), and across response variables (e.g., magnitude and timing of the conditioned eyeblink motor response, modality of the conditioned stimulus). Evaluating specific individual differences in the context of variable brain pathology should aid characterization and refinement of our understanding of complex neuropsychiatric disorders. The field of psychiatry has seen a transition from more traditional use of symptom clusters to define psychiatric disorders with subsequent examination of associated behaviors and traits, to the use of physiological and behavioral indicators to characterize individuals with respect to various psychological domains [in line with the National Institute of Mental Health Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative]. This approach employs a neuroscience-based framework to assess the pathophysiology of chronic mental illnesses. Behavioral and cognitive processes are critical domains of interest in evaluating potential maladaptive patterns that may be indicative of specific psychopathologies. Furthermore, the rapid development of technological advances that allow for more detailed examination (e.g., EEG, MEG, MRI, fMRI, infrared imaging) and manipulation (e.g. transcranial magnetic and direct current stimulation) of brain functions should enhance our ability to better characterize EBC performance and its utility in characterizing aspects of particular neuropathologies. Substantial research evidence exists for the value of EBC paradigms to inform our understanding of the pathophysiologies underlying a wide variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Despite these findings, this readily implemented classic cognitive-behavioral paradigm is relatively underutilized in clinical settings. This e-book highlights recent convergence of clinical and research efforts in this area and aims to promote a resurgent interest in eyeblink classical conditioning, and to emphasize the potential for future translational and diagnostic applications of EBC in combination with other techniques to strengthen our understanding of alterations in brain function manifested in behaviors characteristic of specific psychopathologies.

Individual differences in associative learning

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192908 Year: Pages: 112 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-290-8 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:07
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Theories of associative learning have a long history in advancing the psychological account of behavior via cognitive representation. There are many components and variations of associative theory but at the core is the idea that links or connections between stimuli or responses describe important aspects of our psychological experience. This Frontiers Topic considers how variations in association formation can be used to account for differences between people, elaborating the differences between males and females, differences over the life span, understanding of psychopathologies or even across cultural contexts. A recent volume on the application of learning theory to clinical psychology is one example of this emerging application (e.g., Hazelgrove & Hogarth, 2012). The task for students of learning has been the development, often with mathematically defined explanations, of the parameters and operators that determine the formation and strengths of associations. The ultimate goal is to explain how the acquired representations influence future behavior. This approach has recently been influential in the field of neuroscience where one such learning operator, the error correction principle, has unified the understanding of the conditions which facilitate neuron activation with the computational goals of the brain with properties of learning algorithms (e.g., Rescorla & Wagner, 1972). In this Frontiers Research Topic, we are interested in a similar but currently developing aspect to learning theory, which is the application of the associative model to our understanding of individual differences, including psychopathology. In general, learning theories are monolithic, the same theory applies to the rat and the human, and within people the same algorithm is applied to all individuals. If so this might be thought to suggest that there is little that learning theory can tell us about the how males and females differ, how we change over time or why someone develops schizophrenia for instance. However, these theories have wide scope for developing our understanding of when learning occurs and when it is interfered with, along with a variety of methods of predicting these differences. We received contributions from researchers studying individual differences, including sex differences, age related changes and those using analog or clinical samples of personality and psychopathological disorders where the outcomes of the research bear directly on theories of associative learning. This Research Topic brings together researchers studying basic learning and conditioning processes but in which the basic emotional, attentional, pathological or more general physiological differences between groups of people are modeled using associative theory. This work involves varying stimulus properties and temporal relations or modeling the differences between groups.

Extinction Learning from a Mechanistic and Systems Perspective

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199082 Year: Pages: 277 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-908-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Throughout their lifetime, animals learn to associate stimuli with their consequences. Following memory acquisition and consolidation, circumstances may arise that necessitate that initially learned behaviour is no longer relevant. The ensuing process is called extinction learning and involves a novel and complex learning procedure that involves a large number of neural entities. While the neural fundaments of the initial acquisition are well studied, our understanding of the behavioural and neural basis of extinction is still limited and derives mostly from rodent data acquired through fear conditioning paradigms. Fear conditioning and extinction in rodents is a spectacularly successful paradigm within behavioral neuroscience. However, in recent years, new approaches have been emerging that examine the mechanisms of extinction learning in different setting that also involve appetitive models, a broader comparative perspective, a focus on other brain systems, an examination of hormonal factors, and conditioning of immune responses. Only a broader analysis of the neural fundaments of extinction learning will finally uncover shared and distinct mechanisms that underlie extinction learning in different functional systems. The papers compiled in this Research Topic offer new and valuable insights into the mechanisms and functional implementation of extinction learning at its different levels of complexity, and form the basis for new concepts and research ideas in this field.

Neuronal and Psychological Underpinnings of Pathological Gambling

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193202 Year: Pages: 132 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-320-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-02-05 17:24:33
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Like in the case of drugs, gambling hijacks reward circuits in a brain which is not prepared to receive such intense stimulation. Dopamine is normally released in response to reward and uncertainty in order to allow animals to stay alive in their environment – where rewards are relatively unpredictable. In this case, behavior is regulated by environmental feedbacks, leading animals to persevere or to give up. In contrast, drugs provide a direct, intense pharmacological stimulation of the dopamine system that operates independently of environmental feedbacks, and hence causes “motivational runaways”. With respect to gambling, the confined environment experienced by gamblers favors the emergence of excitatory conditioned cues, so that positive feedbacks take over negative feedbacks. Although drugs and gambling may act differently, their abnormal activation of reward circuitry generates an underestimation of negative consequences and promotes the development of addictive/compulsive behavior. In Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, dopamine-related therapies may disrupt these feedbacks on dopamine signalling, potentially leading to various addictions, including pathological gambling. The goal of this Research Topic is to further our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the development of pathological gambling. This eBook contains a cross-disciplinary collection of research and review articles, ranging in scope from animal behavioral models to human imaging studies.

Emotional Modulation of the Synapse

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196067 Year: Pages: 135 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-606-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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Highly emotional events tend to be well remembered. The adaptive value in this is clear – those events that have a bearing on survival should be stored for future use as long-term memories whereas memories of inconsequential events would not as likely contribute to future survival. Enduring changes in the structure and function of synapses, neural circuitry, and ultimately behavior, can be modulated by highly aversive or rewarding experiences. In the last decade, the convergence of cellular, molecular, and systems neuroscience has produced new insights into the biological mechanisms that determine whether a memory will be stored for the long-term or lost forever. This Research Topic brings together leading experts, who work at multiple levels of analysis, to reveal recent discoveries and concepts regarding the synaptic mechanisms of consolidation and extinction of emotionally arousing memories.

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