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Brain Correlates of Learning 

Brain Correlates of Learning
Chapter:
Brain Correlates of Learning
Author(s):

Yitzchak Frank

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199862955.003.0004
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date: 18 January 2020

General biological characteristics of learning and memory may be common to all living systems. Many cellular structures and metabolic pathways underlying learning are similar in humans and in phylogenetically lower animals. Therefore, when scientists investigate mechanisms of learning on a cellular level, they can use models of simple neuronal systems from phylogenetically lower animals. Basic behavioral learning phenomena such as habituation and sensitization exist and can be manipulated in simple neuronal systems, including those consisting of a few cells only, or even in isolated nervous system preparations. The neuronal modifications underlying simple types of learning can be induced by nerve stimulation. Fictive swimming can be activated in the isolated brain preparation of the sea slug Tritonia by electrical pulses applied to the cut end of a nerve. Repeated application of the nerve stimulus produced changes in fictive swimming that resembled habituation. Similarly, other types of learning, including sensitization, can be studied in this simple organism.

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