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Seminar: Acquisition of conditioned fear

Fear conditioning (FC) in rodents is a widely used behavioral paradigm for delineating the neurobiology of emotional memories. During FC, a biologically insignificant, neutral conditional stimulus (CS) such as an auditory tone is presented together with an aversive unconditional stimulus (US) such as a foot-shock. As a result, the CS comes to elicit conditional fear responses (CRs).


The development of CRs is thought to reflect associative synaptic plasticity in the amygdala, a structure implicated in emotions. Specifically, the synapses that convey CS information to the amygdala get strengthened following FC, endowing the CS with the ability to activate the fear network of the amygdala.


Nonetheless, there is a paradox: In physiological experiments, the time window for inducing associative synaptic plasticity is in the milliseconds range while the time interval between CS and US presentations in FC can be in the seconds range.


The immense acetylcholine input to the amygdala might offer a solution to this paradox. In my talk, I will present my data about how acetylcholine might expand the time window for associative plasticity during behavior.


Speaker: Çağrı Ünal

Date: 22.12.2017 13:40

Classroom: Social Sciences Building B102