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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No Study Section (in-house review) (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 (2018) Stimulus preexposure speeds or slows subsequent acquisition of associative learning depending on learning test procedures and response measure. Learn Behav 46:134-156
Chang, Stephen E; Smith, Kyle S (2016) An omission procedure reorganizes the microstructure of sign-tracking while preserving incentive salience. Learn Mem 23:151-5
Dailey, Megan J; Moran, Timothy H; Holland, Peter C et al. (2016) The antagonism of ghrelin alters the appetitive response to learned cues associated with food. Behav Brain Res 303:191-200
Schiffino, Felipe L; Holland, Peter C (2016) Consolidation of altered associability information by amygdala central nucleus. Neurobiol Learn Mem 133:204-213
Holland, Peter C; Schiffino, Felipe L (2016) Mini-review: Prediction errors, attention and associative learning. Neurobiol Learn Mem 131:207-15
Holland, Peter C (2016) Effects of amygdala lesions on overexpectation phenomena in food cup approach and autoshaping procedures. Behav Neurosci 130:357-75
Holland, Peter C (2016) Enhancing second-order conditioning with lesions of the basolateral amygdala. Behav Neurosci 130:176-81
Schiffino, Felipe L; Holland, Peter C (2016) Secondary visual cortex is critical to the expression of surprise-induced enhancements in cue associability in rats. Eur J Neurosci 44:1870-7
Asem, Judith S A; Holland, Peter C (2015) Dorsolateral striatum implicated in the acquisition, but not expression, of immediate response learning in rodent submerged T-maze. Neurobiol Learn Mem 123:205-16
Asem, Judith S A; Schiffino, Felipe L; Holland, Peter C (2015) Dorsolateral striatum is critical for the expression of surprise-induced enhancements in cue associability. Eur J Neurosci 42:2203-13

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