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Operant Reward Learning in Aplysia: Neuronal Correlates and Mechanisms

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Science  31 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5573, pp. 1706-1709
DOI: 10.1126/science.1069434

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Abstract

Operant conditioning is a form of associative learning through which an animal learns about the consequences of its behavior. Here, we report an appetitive operant conditioning procedure inAplysia that induces long-term memory. Biophysical changes that accompanied the memory were found in an identified neuron (cell B51) that is considered critical for the expression of behavior that was rewarded. Similar cellular changes in B51 were produced by contingent reinforcement of B51 with dopamine in a single-cell analog of the operant procedure. These findings allow for the detailed analysis of the cellular and molecular processes underlying operant conditioning.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: john.h.byrne{at}uth.tmc.edu

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