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Cerebellum. 2016 Apr;15(2):112-21. doi: 10.1007/s12311-015-0690-8.

Links Between Single-Trial Changes and Learning Rate in Eyelid Conditioning.

Author information

1
Center for Learning and Memory, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C7000, Austin, TX, 78712-0805, USA.
2
Center for Learning and Memory, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C7000, Austin, TX, 78712-0805, USA. mauk@utexas.edu.
3
Department of Neuroscience, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 78712, USA. mauk@utexas.edu.

Abstract

The discovery of single-trial learning effects, where the presence or absence (or the number) of climbing fiber inputs produces measureable changes in Purkinje cell response and in behavior, represents a major breakthrough in cerebellar learning. Among other things, these observations provide strong links between climbing fiber-mediated plasticity and cerebellar learning. They also demonstrate that cerebellar learning is stochastic, with each instantiation of a movement producing a small increment or decrement in gain. The sum of the small changes give rise to the macroscopic properties of cerebellar learning. We used a relatively large data set from another example of cerebellar-dependent learning, classical conditioning of eyelid responses, to attempt a behavioral replication and extension of single-trial learning effects. As a normal part of training, stimulus-alone trials provide instances where the climbing fiber response would be omitted, similar to non-climbing-fiber trials (gain down) during smooth pursuit training. The consequences of the stimulus-alone trial on the amplitude and timing of the conditioned response on the following paired trials were examined. We find that the amplitude of the conditioned response during the trial after a stimulus-alone trial (no climbing fiber input) was measurably smaller than the amplitude on the previous trials, and this single-trial effect on amplitude is larger for longer interstimulus intervals. The magnitude of the single-trial effect parallels the rate of extinction at different interstimulus intervals supporting the previously observed link between single-trial effects and learning.

KEYWORDS:

Climbing fiber; LTD; LTP; Stochastic learning; Timing

PMID:
26112423
DOI:
10.1007/s12311-015-0690-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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