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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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Abstract

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.

Individual Differences: From Neurobiological Bases to New Insight on Approach and Avoidance Behavior

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197156 Year: Pages: 110 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-715-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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The superordinate division of emotions is distributed along a bipolar dimension of affective valence, from approaching rewarding situations to avoiding punitive situations. Avoiding and approaching behaviors determine the disposition to the primary emotions of fear and attachment and the behavioral responses to the environmental stimuli of danger, novelty and reward. Approach or avoidance behaviors are associated with the brain pathways controlling cognitive and attentional function, reward sensitivity and emotional expression, involving prefrontal cortex, amygdala, striatum and cerebellum. Individual differences in approach and avoidance behavior might be modulated by normal variance in the level of functioning of different neurotransmitter systems, such as dopaminergic, serotoninergic, noradrenergic and endocannabinoid systems as well as many peptides such as corticotropin releasing hormone. These substances act at various central target areas to increase intensity of appetitive or defensive motivation. Physiologically, personality temperaments of approach and avoidance are viewed as instigators of propensity. They produce immediate affective, cognitive and behavioral inclinations in response to stimuli and orient individuals across domains and situations in a consistent fashion. Although the action undoubtedly emerges directly from these temperamental proclivities, ultimate behavioral outcomes are often a function of the integration among goal pursuit, self-regulation, and temperament trait. Defective coping strategies to aversive or rewarding stimuli characterize the patho-physiology of anxiety- and stress-related disorders or compulsive and addiction behaviors, respectively. Individuals with neuropsychiatric symptoms such as depression, suicidal behavior, bipolar mania, schizophrenia, substance use disorders, pathological gambling and anxiety disorders have scores which fall at the extreme tails of the normal distribution for a specific temperamental trait. The present Research Topic on the individual differences in emotional and motivational processing emphasizes the link between neuronal pattern and behavioral expression. The Topic includes experimental and clinical researches addressing the individual differences related to approach and avoidance and their behavioral characterization, structural and neurochemical profiles, synaptic connections, and receptor expressions. Studies are organized in a framework that puts in evidence the phenotypic expression and neurobiological patterns characterizing the individual differences and their biological variance.

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