ERIC Number: EJ827457
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Complementary Roles for Amygdala and Periaqueductal Gray in Temporal-Difference Fear Learning
Cole, Sindy; McNally, Gavan P.
Learning & Memory, v16 n1 p1-7 Jan 2009
Pavlovian fear conditioning is not a unitary process. At the neurobiological level multiple brain regions and neurotransmitters contribute to fear learning. At the behavioral level many variables contribute to fear learning including the physical salience of the events being learned about, the direction and magnitude of predictive error, and the rate at which these are learned about. These experiments used a serial compound conditioning design to determine the roles of basolateral amygdala (BLA) NMDA receptors and ventrolateral midbrain periaqueductal gray (vlPAG) [mu]-opioid receptors (MOR) in predictive fear learning. Rats received a three-stage design, which arranged for both positive and negative prediction errors producing bidirectional changes in fear learning within the same subjects during the test stage. Intra-BLA infusion of the NR2B receptor antagonist Ifenprodil prevented all learning. In contrast, intra-vlPAG infusion of the MOR antagonist CTAP enhanced learning in response to positive predictive error but impaired learning in response to negative predictive error--a pattern similar to Hebbian learning and an indication that fear learning had been divorced from predictive error. These findings identify complementary but dissociable roles for amygdala NMDA receptors and vlPAG MOR in temporal-difference predictive fear learning.
Descriptors: Classical Conditioning, Parent Child Relationship, Fear, Learning Processes, Brain Hemisphere Functions, Behavior Patterns, Role, Animals, Prediction, Error Patterns
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A