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Neural and Behavioural PlasticityThe Use of the Domestic Chick as a Model$
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R. J. Andrew

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198521846

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198521846.001.0001

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Changes in dendritic and synaptic structure in chick forebrain consequent on passive avoidance learning

Changes in dendritic and synaptic structure in chick forebrain consequent on passive avoidance learning

Chapter:
(p.305) 11 Changes in dendritic and synaptic structure in chick forebrain consequent on passive avoidance learning
Source:
Neural and Behavioural Plasticity
Author(s):

M. G. Stewart

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198521846.003.0012

Newly hatched domestic chicks peck at small objects in their field of view but quickly learn to distinguish between food and nonfood. Knowledge of this discrimination ability allows development of an experimental learning task centered on avoidance by the chick of pecking at unpleasant-tasting substances. The changes in metabolism following training occur within 1 hour of training of chicks and represent a phase connected with short-term memory formation. Such changes are likely to result in remodelling of existing circuitry with the loss of under-specified pathways and strengthening of other synaptic connections, but formation of new pathways may also occur. Morphological changes occur at the dendritic and synaptic level following learning. There are several key areas in which further research is needed to provide a better understanding of the synaptic and dendritic changes that occur in the chick forebrain following a learning experience such as one-trial passive avoidance learning.

Keywords:   discrimination ability, memory formation, remodelling, synaptic connections, morphological changes, learning

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