Most behavioral and psychological function depends on learning. Abnormalities in basic learning processes have been identified in many psychopathologies, including schizopiirenia, autism, impulse control and eating disorders, and a range of affective disorders. Many of the genes identified in association studies as linked to these pathologies are plasticity-related and hence linked to basic learning processes. Thus, better understanding of these processes may be critical to understanding the origins of psychopathology. In our last project period we identified a number of key aspects of amygdala system function in the modulation of attention and incentive in associative learning. In the next project period, we will focus on the interface of learning, memory ahd attention by investigating how violations of learned outcome expectancies can enhance attention to the events present at the time of surprise, such that those events may more readily enter into new associations in tine future. This research will extend our prior work in significant new directions, within three Specific Aims. Research under the first aim will identify brain domains for initial processing of surprise (prediction error), maintenance of altered cue associability information in memory, and the ultimate expression of altered learning rates. Research under a second aim will examine the nature of associability memory. The violation of outcome expectancies today alters the associability (ease of entering into new learning) of cues tomorrow. Thus, there must be some relatively permanent memory of this altered cue associability. We will explore 'associability memory'within a broader perspective of post-trial information processing, including questions of consolidation, replay, and reconsolidation. Finally, research under a third aim will use unit recording and optogenetic silencing and hijacking (stimulation) techniques to examine neuronal coding of prediction and prediction error underlying the enhancement of cue associability.

Public Health Relevance

Abnormalities in basic learning processes have been identified in many psychopathologies, including schizophrenia, autism, and affective disorders. Understanding these processes is critical to determining the origins of psychopathology. The proposed research will identify brain systems and function that underlie learning and memory of alterations in attention that occur when learned expectancies are violated.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award (R37)
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Special Emphasis Panel (NSS)
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Osborn, Bettina D
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Johns Hopkins University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Holland, Peter C (2014) Stimuli associated with the cancellation of food and its cues enhance eating but display negative incentive value. Learn Behav 42:365-82
Wheeler, Daniel S; Wan, Sandy; Miller, Alexandra et al. (2014) Role of lateral hypothalamus in two aspects of attention in associative learning. Eur J Neurosci 40:2359-77
Chang, Stephen E (2014) Effects of orbitofrontal cortex lesions on autoshaped lever pressing and reversal learning. Behav Brain Res 273:52-6
Esber, Guillem R; Holland, Peter C (2014) The basolateral amygdala is necessary for negative prediction errors to enhance cue salience, but not to produce conditioned inhibition. Eur J Neurosci 40:3328-37
Holland, Peter C; Hsu, Melanie (2014) Role of amygdala central nucleus in the potentiation of consuming and instrumental lever-pressing for sucrose by cues for the presentation or interruption of sucrose delivery in rats. Behav Neurosci 128:71-82
Holland, Peter C; Asem, Judith S A; Galvin, Connor P et al. (2014) Blocking in autoshaped lever-pressing procedures with rats. Learn Behav 42:1-21
Schiffino, Felipe L; Zhou, Vivian; Holland, Peter C (2014) Posterior parietal cortex is critical for the encoding, consolidation, and retrieval of a memory that guides attention for learning. Eur J Neurosci 39:640-9
Lee, Hongjoo J; Wheeler, Daniel S; Holland, Peter C (2011) Interactions between amygdala central nucleus and the ventral tegmental area in the acquisition of conditioned cue-directed behavior in rats. Eur J Neurosci 33:1876-84
Maddux, Jean-Marie; Holland, Peter C (2011) Effects of dorsal or ventral medial prefrontal cortical lesions on five-choice serial reaction time performance in rats. Behav Brain Res 221:63-74
Maddux, Jean-Marie; Holland, Peter C (2011) Dissociations between medial prefrontal cortical subregions in the modulation of learning and action. Behav Neurosci 125:383-95

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