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Full-Text Articles in Psychology

The Role Of Glutamate In The Medial Prefrontal Cortex In The Acquistion And Expression Of Conditioned Approach, Rudolf Nisanov Feb 2024

The Role Of Glutamate In The Medial Prefrontal Cortex In The Acquistion And Expression Of Conditioned Approach, Rudolf Nisanov

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

A series of experiments were conducted to assess the role of glutamatergic stimulation in the dorsal and ventral regions of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in both the acquisition and expression of reward-related learning using a Pavlovian conditioning paradigm, the conditioned-approach paradigm. Rats with surgically implanted cannulas were exposed to Pavlovian conditioning sessions that occurred on three alternative days (acquisition) or seven consecutive days (expression). These 60-min conditioning sessions consisted of 30 pairings of light (CS) and food pellets (US) presented under a random time schedule. After a two-day break, rats underwent a session with no CS or US and …


Brainwaves, Memory, And Reward, Rebecca Mccune Sep 2023

Brainwaves, Memory, And Reward, Rebecca Mccune

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

The development of effective educational curricula for enhancing learning involves the crucial consideration of effort and rewards. In the realm of education, teachers commonly employ rewards as motivational tools. Traditionally, these rewards are given to students as a recognition of their successful performance. However, a thought-provoking idea emerges: What if we were to extend rewards to students not solely based on accurate answers, but also on the effort they invest, even in cases where their actual response might be incorrect? Our study explores the potential impact of this approach on the way information is absorbed and subsequently retained, specifically focusing …


Statistical And Biological Analyses Of Acoustic Signals In Estrildid Finches, Moises Rivera Jun 2023

Statistical And Biological Analyses Of Acoustic Signals In Estrildid Finches, Moises Rivera

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Acoustic communication is a process that involves auditory perception and signal processing. Discrimination and recognition further require cognitive processes and supporting mechanisms in order to successfully identify and appropriately respond to signal senders. Although acoustic communication is common across birds, classical research has largely disregarded the perceptual abilities of perinatal altricial taxa. Chapter 1 reviews the literature of perinatal acoustic stimulation in birds, highlighting the disproportionate focus on precocial birds (e.g., chickens, ducks, quails). The long-held belief that altricial birds were incapable of acoustic perception in ovo was only recently overturned, as researchers began to find behavioral and physiological evidence …


Withdrawal From Voluntary Oral Methamphetamine Reveals Female Specific Susceptibilities To Behavioral Deficits And Neurochemical Perpetuators Of Neurotoxicity And Drug Seeking Behavior, Nicoletta K. Memos Jun 2022

Withdrawal From Voluntary Oral Methamphetamine Reveals Female Specific Susceptibilities To Behavioral Deficits And Neurochemical Perpetuators Of Neurotoxicity And Drug Seeking Behavior, Nicoletta K. Memos

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

MA is a potent, highly addictive psychomotor stimulant known to produce neurotoxic effects on the brain leading to neurological impairments1-6 characterized by neurodegeneration of dopaminergic fibers, cell bodies and pathways, as well as brain regions such as the hippocampus, frontal cortex, and midbrain1,5.

In MA addiction, women are more vulnerable to the behavioral and cognitive effects of MA compared to men. Adult human literature reveals gender differences in usage patterns and women demonstrate increased vulnerability to the neurotoxic effects and health effects of MA use. Women begin drug use at an earlier age, escalate drug use quicker, …


Contributions Of Reward Identity And Time Prediction Errors To Pavlovian Learning, Daniel B. Siegel Sep 2021

Contributions Of Reward Identity And Time Prediction Errors To Pavlovian Learning, Daniel B. Siegel

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Some models of associative learning attempt to explain effects such as blocking and unblocking as reflecting a prediction error (PE): Associative strength, and thereby learning, are said to be greater when the unconditioned stimulus (US) received following a cue deviates from one’s expectations. Some models of PE-motivated behavior and PE-relevant brain activity represent the US as a single quantitative variable for outcome value, and that learning therefore only occurs when outcome value differs from expectations. There is growing evidence to suggest that changes in other dimensions of reward, such as identity and timing, also contribute to learning. In Experiment 1, …


Circuits Underlying Serotonin Mediated Sex Differences In Fear Learning, Rebecca Ravenelle Jun 2021

Circuits Underlying Serotonin Mediated Sex Differences In Fear Learning, Rebecca Ravenelle

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a trauma-related disorder characterized by intense fearful memory formation. Women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, indicating there may be sex differences in the underlying neural circuits. Given that serotonin (5-HT) dysfunction is implicated in PTSD, and 5-HT modulates fear learning, we investigated whether there are sex differences in the modulation of fear learning by 5-HT. We administered the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) citalopram (20mg/kg or 10m/kg, i.p.) once to male and female mice prior to auditory fear conditioning and tested the effects on fear memory the next day. We found …


Early Emotion Regulation In The Children Of Superstorm Sandy, Jessica L. Buthmann Jun 2021

Early Emotion Regulation In The Children Of Superstorm Sandy, Jessica L. Buthmann

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Rising prevalence of childhood psychopathology mandate investigation into the antecedents of symptom onset. Growing evidence shows prenatal maternal stress experienced in utero is a strong contributor to offspring neurodevelopmental deficits, including emotion dysregulation, a core feature of many types of psychopathology. This dissertation summarizes a body of work studying children prenatally exposed to maternal stress related to a natural disaster, Superstorm Sandy (i.e., storm stress). This work includes six experiments conducted in the framework of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis. The DOHaD hypothesis posits that developmental disruptions, like storm stress exposure, during a critical period of …


The Effect Of Anticipatory Anxiety On Fear Extinction Learning, Daniela C. Echeverria Jun 2021

The Effect Of Anticipatory Anxiety On Fear Extinction Learning, Daniela C. Echeverria

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Adaptive regulation of fear is dependent on successful fear extinction learning; therefore, investigating factors that both enhance and diminish fear extinction learning is a critical line of research. In the present study, we induce mild anticipatory anxiety during fear extinction learning in an attempt to modulate how participants extinguish fear memory. In the experiment, we apply a classic three-day fear learning protocol to both control participants (N = 20) and an experimental group (N = 20) with fear acquisition, fear extinction, and fear recovery phases; each phase is separated by a period of 24 hours and we use a skin …


Rehabilitative Movement Approaches And Dance Interventions In Parkinson’S Disease, Cecilia Fontanesi Sep 2020

Rehabilitative Movement Approaches And Dance Interventions In Parkinson’S Disease, Cecilia Fontanesi

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

The scope of this work is to address the functional deficits and symptoms experienced by those living with Parkinson’s Disease through movement interventions.

Chapter 1 offers a brief overview of current pharmacotherapy and rehabilitation approaches in Parkinson’s, focusing on dance in particular as a movement intervention that may be particularly suited to this population.

Chapter 2 focuses on brain plasticity and motor learning in PD, reporting the effects of rTMS applied after the acquisition of a motor skill. In this study, adaptation tested in patients with PD was comparable in the sham and TMS sessions, while retention indices tested on …


Neurodevelopmental Mechanisms Of Adverse Trauma Outcomes In Emerging Adulthood, Olena Kleshchova Sep 2020

Neurodevelopmental Mechanisms Of Adverse Trauma Outcomes In Emerging Adulthood, Olena Kleshchova

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Background: Exposure to traumatic stress and adversity during the formative years of development can have adverse effects on mental health, neuroendocrine stress system function, and the brain, that persist into adulthood. One candidate mechanism that might confer vulnerability to enduring adverse outcomes of early life trauma is disruption of normal brain maturation. As the brain matures, functional interactions among brain regions change until the functional brain architecture (i.e., the functional connectome) reaches a mature state in adulthood. Given that different neural circuits have distinct developmental trajectories and sensitive periods, traumatic stress at a given point in development might have …


Experience-Dependent Changes In Nucleus Accumbens Activity Predict Cued Approach Learning: Contribution Of Nmda Receptors, Mercedes Vega Villar Feb 2020

Experience-Dependent Changes In Nucleus Accumbens Activity Predict Cued Approach Learning: Contribution Of Nmda Receptors, Mercedes Vega Villar

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Animals learn associations between environmental cues and the natural rewards they predict (e.g., food, water, sex). As a result, reward-predictive cues come to trigger vigorous reward-seeking responses. Many neurons in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) become excited upon presentation of an already-learned reward-predictive cue. These NAc responses encode the motivational value of the cue and are necessary for the expression of the subsequent approach behavior. However, the precise temporal relationship between the emergence of cue-evoked excitations in the NAc and the acquisition of cued approach behavior remains unknown. In Experiment 1, NAc activity was recorded as rats learned to approach a …


Emotion Processing Deficits In Psychopathy: Does Cueing To Relevant Facial Features Increase Cognitive And Emotional Empathy?, Shawn E. Fagan Sep 2019

Emotion Processing Deficits In Psychopathy: Does Cueing To Relevant Facial Features Increase Cognitive And Emotional Empathy?, Shawn E. Fagan

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Psychopathy is a multifaceted disorder characterized by a lack of cognitive and emotional empathy. The traditional model of psychopathy divides the disorder into two factors: Factor 1 consists of the interpersonal and affective traits of psychopathy while Factor 2 measures antisocial behaviors and lifestyle choices. The attention-to-the-eyes hypothesis argues that psychopathic individuals have impaired emotion recognition (specifically for fear) due to deficits in orienting attention to salient facial features like the eyes. Psychopathic individuals also display blunted autonomic responding to emotional stimuli, though whether this is due to attention-orienting deficits remains to be clarified. The present project investigated whether empathy-related …


Murine Genetic Variance In Sugar And Fat-Conditioned Flavor Preferences: Roles Of Dopamine, Opioid And Nmda Receptors And Nutritive Sensing, Tamar T. Kraft Sep 2019

Murine Genetic Variance In Sugar And Fat-Conditioned Flavor Preferences: Roles Of Dopamine, Opioid And Nmda Receptors And Nutritive Sensing, Tamar T. Kraft

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

As obesity and diabetes have emerged as a severe public health crisis, understanding the mechanisms underlying the consumption of sugars and fats has become a topic of vigorous study. From a biological standpoint, genetic dispositions, neurochemical and hormonal influences, and predetermined orosensory and postingestive signals that modulate the hunger and satiety process may govern physiological aspects of the obesity puzzle. In addition to an innate appetite and attraction for simple carbohydrates and fats, learning plays an important role in modulating preferences for sugar- and fat-rich foods in rodents, including inbred mouse strains. Marked genetic variance has been observed among murine …


The Role Of The Direct And Indirect Basal Ganglia Pathways In The Learning, Performance, And Goal-Directed Control Of Action Sequences, Eric Garr Sep 2019

The Role Of The Direct And Indirect Basal Ganglia Pathways In The Learning, Performance, And Goal-Directed Control Of Action Sequences, Eric Garr

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Animals engage in intricately woven action sequences that are constructed from trial-and-error learning, but the mechanisms by which the brain links together individual actions which are later recalled as fluid chains of behavior are not fully understood. The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the learning and goal-directed control of action sequences in rats. Experiment 1 addresses a question that comes out of a reinforcement learning model of action sequencing: how does the extent of training change how the performance of an action sequence is impacted by reward devaluation. The data show that action sequences remain goal-directed overall regardless …


Dietary Curcumin Promotes Resilience To Chronic Social Defeat Stress In A Highly Susceptible Mouse Strain, Antonio V. Aubry Sep 2018

Dietary Curcumin Promotes Resilience To Chronic Social Defeat Stress In A Highly Susceptible Mouse Strain, Antonio V. Aubry

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Chronic exposure to stress is a risk factor for the development of major depression and post traumatic stress disorder in humans and induces depressive- and anxiety-like phenotypes in rodents. However, there are few pharmacological interventions available that effectively treat maladaptive responses to chronic stress in the clinical setting. One therapeutic agent that has recently shown promise in treating psychiatric disorders is curcumin, a yellow-pigmented polyphenol compound found in the turmeric plant. Curcumin has been shown to prevent the development of stressed-induced depressive-like behavior in rodents and reduce symptoms of depression in clinically diagnosed patients. In this dissertation, I investigated whether …


Curcumin Inhibits The Ikk:Nf-Kappa B Pathway In Neural Fear Circuits, Miguel A. Briones Sep 2018

Curcumin Inhibits The Ikk:Nf-Kappa B Pathway In Neural Fear Circuits, Miguel A. Briones

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

The study of how the brain acquires fearful memories has attracted considerable experimental attention, due in part to the promise of discovering novel therapeutic approaches for psychiatric disorders that are characterized by unusually strong and persistent traumatic memories. In recent years, extensive research has focused on studying the neural and molecular mechanisms by which fear memories are acquired, stored, and retrieved in the brain. Once acquired, fear memories may be attenuated using one of 2 procedures: 1) fear extinction, which involves repeated presentation of the fear-arousing stimulus in the absence of an aversive consequence, or 2) interference with the reconsolidation …


Social Influences On Songbird Behavior: From Song Learning To Motion Coordination, Iva Ljubičić Feb 2018

Social Influences On Songbird Behavior: From Song Learning To Motion Coordination, Iva Ljubičić

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Social animals learn during development how to integrate successfully into their group. How do social interactions combine to maintain group cohesion? We first review how social environments can influence the development of vocal learners, such as songbirds and humans (Chapter 1). To bypass the complexity of natural social interactions and gain experimental control, we developed Virtual Social Environments, surrounding the bird with videos of manipulated playbacks. This way we were able to design sensory and social scenarios and test how social zebra finches adjust their behavior (Chapters 2 & 3). A serious challenge is that the color output of a …


The Role Of Glutamate Neurotransmission In The Ventral Tegmental Area In The Expression Of Conditioned Approach Learning, Priscila Hachimine-Merli Sep 2017

The Role Of Glutamate Neurotransmission In The Ventral Tegmental Area In The Expression Of Conditioned Approach Learning, Priscila Hachimine-Merli

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Conditioned stimuli (CSs) come to function as CSs by acquiring the capacity to activate the same mesocorticolimbic dopamine (DA) neurons activated by primary rewards, producing conditioned activation of these neurons and their associated motivational states. This model stipulates that CSs activate mesocorticolimbic DA systems through the activation of glutamate receptors on DA neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). We tested the hypothesis that glutamate receptor stimulation in the VTA is necessary for the expression of conditioned approach. Rats were tested in a conditioned approach protocol that consisted of 7 consecutive conditioning sessions (light presentations and food were paired), one …


The Nucleus Accumbens Core Dopamine D1 And Glutamate Ampa/Nmda Receptors Play A Transient Role In The Performance Of Pavlovian Approach Behavior, Veronica Dobrovitsky Sep 2017

The Nucleus Accumbens Core Dopamine D1 And Glutamate Ampa/Nmda Receptors Play A Transient Role In The Performance Of Pavlovian Approach Behavior, Veronica Dobrovitsky

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

The role of the nucleus accumbens core (NAc core) continues to be redefined with newly acquired data on neurochemical mechanisms mediating the learning and performance of behavior. Previous empirical data showed that dopamine transmission at the D1 receptor (D1R) plays a transient role in the expression of learned Pavlovian approach behavior. Here we show that, prior to overtraining, dopamine activity at D1Rs specifically within the NAc core is critical for the performance of approach behavior elicited by the recently-acquired reward-paired cue. Blockade of D1Rs in the NAc core, but not the dorsomedial striatum or NAc shell, disrupted approach responses during …


Dopamine D1 And D3 Receptor Polypharmacology In Cocaine Reward And Cocaine Seeking, Ewa J. Galaj Feb 2017

Dopamine D1 And D3 Receptor Polypharmacology In Cocaine Reward And Cocaine Seeking, Ewa J. Galaj

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Background: In the search for efficacious pharmacotherapies to treat cocaine addiction much attention has been given to agents targeting D1 or D3 receptors because of the involvement of these receptors in cocaine-related behaviors. D1 and D3 receptor partial agonists and antagonists have been shown to reduce cocaine reward, reinstatement of cocaine seeking and conditioned place preference (CPP) in rodents and non-human primates. However, translation of these encouraging results with selective D1 or D3 receptor agents has been limited due to a number of factors including toxicity, poor pharmacokinetic properties and extrapyramidal and sedative side effects.

Purpose: Given the …


Status Signaling And The Characterization Of A Chirp-Like Signal In The Weakly Electric Fish Steatogenys Elegans, Caitlin E. Field Feb 2016

Status Signaling And The Characterization Of A Chirp-Like Signal In The Weakly Electric Fish Steatogenys Elegans, Caitlin E. Field

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Sensory systems are critical to both exploratory and communicatory processes, the study of which is critical to our understanding of how animals perceive and respond to their environments. In weakly electric fishes the electrosensory system is utilized for both of these purposes. One type of communication, status signaling, is widespread across taxa and frequently hormonally modulated. This hormonal modulation keeps the signal honest, wherein the status of the sender and the production of the status signal itself are both hormone dependent. We investigated exploratory and communicatory strategies of the electromotor system in pulse-type gymnotiforms, with a focus on status communication …


Physiological And Subjective Aspects Of Positive Mood In Relation To Executive Functioning: The Potential Moderating Role Of Personality, Luz Helena Ospina Feb 2015

Physiological And Subjective Aspects Of Positive Mood In Relation To Executive Functioning: The Potential Moderating Role Of Personality, Luz Helena Ospina

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Positive affect has been demonstrated to improve aspects of cognition. However, recent studies reveal that positive affect may hinder the same cognitive processes, such as executive functioning, memory and creativity. These discrepant findings may be due to differing levels of physiological arousal, a component of the circumplex model of affect, which has been largely ignored in affective research. For example, one recent study suggests that positive valence coupled with varying levels of physiological arousal (i.e., low, moderate, and high) may differentially affect performance on tasks of verbal fluency and memory. Furthermore, one other explanation for these inconsistent findings may relate …


Biological Motion Processing In Typical Development And In The Autism Spectrum, Aaron Krakowski Oct 2014

Biological Motion Processing In Typical Development And In The Autism Spectrum, Aaron Krakowski

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Biological motion (BM) analysis and interpretation is a fundamental process of human neurocognition that has been only minimally explored neurophysiologically. In addition to its importance in understanding the underlying roots and development of social cognition, BM processing is a prime candidate domain for exploring the underlying etiology of social cognitive disorders such as the autism spectrum.

In an initial experiment, typical adults observed BM point-light displays of a human actor (UM) as well as their spatially scrambled counterparts (SM), in both an unattended distractor task as well as an explicit attention task. Results showed a neurophysiological response manifested as three …


The Effects Of Environmental Enrichment On Abstinence And Relapse Using An Animal Conflict Model, Joshua Alan Peck Oct 2014

The Effects Of Environmental Enrichment On Abstinence And Relapse Using An Animal Conflict Model, Joshua Alan Peck

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Heroin addiction is a significant health and societal problem for which there is no effective and well-accepted long-term behavioral or pharmacological treatment. Therefore, strategies that prolong heroin abstinence should be the primary focus of heroin treatment research. There is promising evidence that environmental enrichment may indeed support drug abstinence in animals using the reinstatement model of abstinence and relapse. The current studies used an animal conflict model that captures the aversive consequences of drug seeking (as are typical in humans, e.g., arrest, incarceration, job loss, and strained social relationships) to test the effects of environmental enrichment on heroin abstinence, prolonged …


Psychic Collapse And Traumatic Defense: How The Mind Mediates Trauma Living In The Body, Patricia Kim Yoon Oct 2014

Psychic Collapse And Traumatic Defense: How The Mind Mediates Trauma Living In The Body, Patricia Kim Yoon

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

The aim of this exploratory study was to link psychoanalytic theories of trauma and its impact on the mind with psychobiological research of how trauma lives in the body. The study has expanded on prior research (Cramer, 2003) to evidence that defense mechanisms do in fact moderate the relationship between stress and physiological response, and that there are likely individual differences in physiological response to traumatic stress. This study goes further to identify the psychological concomitants of these individual differences within an adult population exposed to potentially traumatic events (PTEs), and their proclivity for using different defense mechanisms. Defense use …


Supraspinal And Spinal Mechanisms Of Morphine-Induced Hyperalgesia, Caroline A. Arout Feb 2014

Supraspinal And Spinal Mechanisms Of Morphine-Induced Hyperalgesia, Caroline A. Arout

Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Morphine is the most prominent pharmacological treatment for moderate to severe pain in both acute and chronic paradigms. However, morphine notoriously elicits a paradoxical state of increased pain sensitivity known as hyperalgesia that complicates its use in clinical application. Research over the past three decades has reported that morphine-induced hyperalgesia is dose- and sex-dependent, and likely involves the synchronous activity of several neural networks beyond the opioid system. Whereas systemic, supraspinal, and spinal administration of morphine all cause hyperalgesia that is differentially reversible by N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonists or melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) antagonists, it is unknown as to whether or …