A comparison of mechanisms underlying the CS–US association and the CS–nothing association

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The ability to adapt to environmental change is essential for the survival of any organism. Adaptations to environmental change include the ability to learn associations and the ability to modify those associations. Numerous studies have demonstrated that deficits in the ability to modify or modulate learning are associated with multiple mental illnesses and disorders (Amieva, Phillips, Della, &Henry, 2004; Baron-Cohen &Belmonte, 2005; Baruch, Hemsley, &Gray, 1988; Clark &Goodwin, 2004; Kaplan et al., 2006; Lubow &Gewirtz, 1995; Lubow &Josman, 1993; Vaitl, Lipp, Bauer et al., 1999; Weiner, Schiller, &Gaisler-Salomon, 2003). Because of the strong link between mental illness and deficits in processes that modulate learning, understanding the neural substrates of these processes could facilitate development of treatments for many diseases. Latent inhibition is one process that can modulate learned associations and is also altered in patients with mental illness (see the chapters on schizophrenia in this book for an in-depth discussion). As described in preceding chapters in this book, latent inhibition is the phenomenon in which pre-exposure to a conditioned stimulus (CS) prior to the pairing of this CS with an unconditioned stimulus (US) decreases the subsequent conditioned responses (CR). There are three phases of latent inhibition: (1) pre-exposure to the CS, (2) training (or conditioning), and (3) testing. The presence of latent inhibition is identified by comparing the degree of conditioned responding between the CS pre-exposed group and the non-pre-exposed group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLatent Inhibition
Subtitle of host publicationCognition, Neuroscience and Applications to Schizophrenia
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780511730184
ISBN (Print)9780521517331
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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