Learning and Memory Paper

Topics: Hippocampus, Memory, Psychology Pages: 6 (2141 words) Published: January 21, 2013
Learning and Memory Paper
Brian Adams, Cheri Johnson, Diana Dunbar, and Eleanore Krzeminski PSY/340
January 12, 2013
Dr. Michelle Lockwood

Learning and Memory Paper
Human memory has been a significant interest concerning how people develop memory and process memory. Researchers and educators are diligently interested on the neuroanatomical neural processes related to learning and the current literature, neuroanatomical and neural processes related to memory and the current literature. In addition, the relationship between learning and memory form functional perspective. Researchers discuss the reasons learning and memory are interdependent, and have performed testing through case studies using animal studies because they are most useful and replicable studies for understanding the learning-to-memory-link. The examples from research help researchers with solving the mystery of the memory processes. Researchers discuss the importance of lifelong learning and brain stimulation to longevity and quality of life to obtain knowledge and how the human individual develops their capabilities to obtain memory and how memory can affect human behaviors. To understand the functional relationship between learning and memory we must first define what both learning and memory is. Learning is described as “the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, or by being taught” (Merriam-Webster, 2011). While “Memory is the means by which we draw on our past experiences in order to use this information in the present” (Sternberg, 1999). Therefore, as one can tell memory is essential to all of our lives. Without a memory of the past, we cannot operate in the present or think about the future. We would not be able to remember what we did yesterday, what we have done today or what we plan to do tomorrow. Without memory, we could not learn anything. Learning and Memory are linked to cognitive abilities in both humans and animals. A well-known example to show the relationship between learning and memory is the classic rat in maze. Rats have been used in experimental mazes since at least the 20th century. Thousands of studies have examined how rat’s run different types of mazes, from T-maze to radial arm mazes to water mazes. These maze studies are used to study spatial learning and memory in rats. Maze studies helped uncover general principles about learning that can be applied to many species, including humans. Today, mazes are used to determine whether different treatments or conditions affect learning and memory in rats. To take a step further, According to Kolata al, 2005 case study the tasks that comprise the learning battery (e.g., Lashley lll maze, passive avoidance, spatial water maze, order discrimination, fear conditioning) were explicitly chosen so that each one places unique sensory, motor, motivational, and information processing demands on the animals. Briefly, performance in the Lashley lll maze depends on animals’ use of fixed motor patterns (egocentric navigation) motivated by a search for food. Passive avoidance is an operant conditioning paradigm in which the animals must learn to be passive in order to avoid aversive light and noise stimulation. The spatial water maze encourages the animals to integrate spatial information to efficiently escape from a pool of water. Odor discrimination is a task in which animals must discriminate and use a target odor to guide their search for food. Finally, fear conditioning (assessed by behavioral freezing) is a conditioning test in which the animals learn to associate a tone with a shock. We reported a positive correlation between the aggregate performance of individual outbred mice in the learning battery described above and their subsequent ability to accommodate competing demands on their spatial working memory capacity. Specifically, we observe that when mice required performing in two arm mazes concurrently (a manipulation intended to place demands...
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