Integration of Neurobiological and Computational Analyses of the Neural Network Essentials for Conditioned Taste Aversion
Final progress rept. 15 Dec 1988-14 Mar 1991
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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The general goal of this project was to determine the neural basis of learning and memory, that is, how the brain stores and retrieves memory. The special form of learning which was the focus of this project was conditioned taste aversions, learned aversions to the taste of food or fluid when consumption of that substance is followed by illness. Studies were made of the illness pathway and illness-taste integration pathway. Conditions under which endogenous substances act as illness-inducing agents were determined, techniques to study neural substrates for those substances as well as exogenous toxins were developed and evidence refuting hypotheses regarding the role of particular brain areas as substrates for illness-integration was obtained. Endogenous factors that modulate the acquisition and extinction of conditioned taste aversions were also identified. Variations in endogenous hormone levels, availability of water, and age alter the facility with which an aversion is learned and unlearned. Finally, a neural model encompassing the illness pathway, the taste pathway, the behavioral pathways, and the modulatory pathways was developed.
- Anatomy and Physiology