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Behavioural brain research

Relief learning is distinguished from safety learning by the requirement of the nucleus accumbens.


PMID 24995614

Abstract

Aversive events induce aversive memories (fear learning) and can also establish appetitive memories. This is the case for cues associated with the cessation of an aversive event (relief learning) or occurring in an explicitly unpaired fashion (safety learning). However, the neural basis of relief and safety learning is poorly understood. In particular, it is not clear whether relief learning and safety learning are neuronally distinct. In the present study, we ask whether the nucleus accumbens is required for the acquisition of relief- and/or safety memory. Temporary inactivation of the nucleus accumbens by local injections of the GABA-A receptor agonist muscimol during the learning session abolished relief learning whereas safety learning was not affected. Thus, the requirement for a functional nucleus accumbens distinguishes relief from safety learning, showing that these two forms of learning are neuronally distinct.

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G019 Muscimol hydrobromide, ≥98% (HPLC), solid
C4H6N2O2 · HBr