Extending in vitro conditioning in Aplysia to analyze operant and classical processes in the same preparation.

Publication Date



Learn Mem. 2004 Jul-Aug;11(4):412-20. Epub 2004 Jul 14.Click here to read


Operant and classical conditioning are major processes shaping behavioral responses in all animals. Although the understanding of the mechanisms of classical conditioning has expanded significantly, the understanding of the mechanisms of operant conditioning is more limited. Recent developments in Aplysia are helping to narrow the gap in the level of understanding between operant and classical conditioning, and have raised the possibility of studying the neuronal processes underlying the interaction of operant and classical components in a relatively complex learning task. In the present study, we describe a first step toward realizing this goal, by developing a single in vitro preparation in which both operant and classical conditioning can be studied concurrently. The new paradigm reproduced previously published results, even under more conservative and homogenous selection criteria and tonic stimulation regime. Moreover, the observed learning was resistant to delay, shortening, and signaling of reinforcement.


Analysis of Variance, Animals, Aplysia, Association Learning, Cheek, Conditioning, Classical, Conditioning, Operant, Electrophysiology, Feeding Behavior, Ganglia, Invertebrate, Motor Neurons, Neurobiology


PMCID: PMC498323

doi: 10.1101/lm.74404.