Neural analogs of associative learning in Aplysia: Experimental and theoretical approaches
A change in synaptic strength arising from the activation of two neuronal pathways at approximately the same time is a form of associative plasticity and may underlie classical conditioning. Previously, a cellular analog of a classical conditioning protocol has been demonstrated to produce short-term associative plasticity at the connections between sensory and motor neurons in Aplysia. A similar training protocol produced long-term (24 hour) enhancement of excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs). EPSPs produced by sensory neurons in which activity was paired with a reinforcing stimulus were significantly larger than unpaired controls 24 hours after training. To examined whether the associative plasticity observed at these synapses may be involved in higher-order forms of classical conditioning, a neural analog of contingency was developed. In addition, computer simulations were used to analyze whether the associative plasticity observed in Aplysia could, in theory, account for second-order conditioning and blocking.
Buonomano, Dean Vincent, "Neural analogs of associative learning in Aplysia: Experimental and theoretical approaches" (1991). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9217765.