Imprinting and recognition memory; a review of neural mechanisms
Animals acquire information about the world through the process of learning, and store that information as memory. Central as the storage process is to adaptive behaviour, progress in understanding its neural bases have recently shown clear signs of being successful. Young chicks approach a wide range of conspicuous objects. If the chicks continue to be exposed to a particular object, they learn its characteristics. If their preferences are subsequently tested the chicks selectively approach the training or imprinting object and may not approach, or may actively avoid a novel object. When neurotransmitter molecules are liberated from the presynaptic bouton, they diffuse into the synaptic cleft and bind to receptors present in the postsynaptic density. Learning leads to changes in the connections made between neurons, representing specific memories. There is evidence that some of the changes are closely tied to learning.
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