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ERIC Number: EJ1120570
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Dec
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0502
Behavioral Mechanisms of Context Fear Generalization in Mice
Huckleberry, Kylie A.; Ferguson, Laura B.; Drew, Michael R.
Learning & Memory, v23 n12 p703-709 Dec 2016
There is growing interest in generalization of learned contextual fear, driven in part by the hypothesis that mood and anxiety disorders stem from impaired hippocampal mechanisms of fear generalization and discrimination. However, there has been relatively little investigation of the behavioral and procedural mechanisms that might control generalization of contextual fear. We assessed the relative contribution of different contextual features to context fear generalization and characterized how two common conditioning protocols--foreground (uncued) and background (cued) contextual fear conditioning--affected context fear generalization. In one experiment, mice were fear conditioned in context A, and then tested for contextual fear both in A and in an alternate context created by changing a subset of A's elements. The results suggest that floor configuration and odor are more salient features than chamber shape. A second experiment compared context fear generalization in background and foreground context conditioning. Although foreground conditioning produced more context fear than background conditioning, the two procedures produced equal amounts of generalized fear. Finally, results indicated that the order of context tests (original first versus alternate first) significantly modulates context fear generalization, perhaps because the original and alternate contexts are differentially sensitive to extinction. Overall, results demonstrate that context fear generalization is sensitive to procedural variations and likely reflects the operation of multiple interacting psychological and neural mechanisms.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A