The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

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9780878936694: The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

To understand how the brain learns and remembers requires an integration of psychological concepts and behavioral methods with mechanisms of synaptic plasticity systems and systems neuroscience. The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory is a new undergraduate textbook that provides a synthesis of this interdisciplinary field. Each chapter makes the key concepts transparent and accessible to a reader with a minimal background in either neurobiology or psychology and is extensively illustrated with full-color photographs and line art depicting important concepts and experimental data. The first section of the book is organized around the central ideas that synapses are plastic and can be modified by experience and that the synapse is the basic unit of information storage. It introduces students to the long-term potentiation methodology used to study how synapses are modified, the concepts of post-translation processes, genomic signaling processes, local protein synthesis and synaptic tagging, and how they contribute to strengthening synapses. It emphasizes the various ways calcium regulates processes that strengthen synapses and ends with a discussion on the structure of dendritic spines and how changes in the spine s structure contribute to its function and stability. The second section builds on this foundation to show how molecules and cellular processes that have been identified from studies of synaptic plasticity also participate in the making of memories. It features a discussion of the basic conceptual issues researchers face in trying to relate memory to molecules and describes some of the behavioral and neurobiological methods that are used. This section also introduces the concept of memory modulation and discusses the fate of retrieved memories and how they can be modified. The final section of the book is organized around the multiple memory systems view that different neural systems have evolved to store the content contained in our experience. It features discussion of the medial-temporal hippocampal system that supports episodic memory, the concept of systems consolidation, and its relationship to Ribot s law that memories become resistant to disruption as they age. The cortico-striatal system and its relationship to what are called behavioral actions and habits is described, and this section ends with a discussion of neural systems involved in the acquisition and removal of emotional memories.

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About the Author:

JERRY W. RUDY Chair of the Psychology Department, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA.

Review:

In bringing scientific rigor to the study of learning and memory, Ebbinghaus, Thorndike, Pavlov and others provided the impetus for twentieth and twenty-first century scientists to begin to look inside the black box of learning and memory and to ultimately develop neurobiological accounts of these processes. In his new book, The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Jerry Rudy takes us on a journey from the work of these pioneers to contemporary neurobiological studies where, armed with a plethora of imaging and molecular tools, today's neurobiologists are getting unprecedented views inside of this black box. ... The real strength of this book is in placing contemporary, molecular-centric studies of learning and memory in a broader historical context, that is, tracing a path from eIF2alpha to Ebbinghaus. --Paul W. Frankland and Karim Nader, Nature Neuroscience

Congratulations on a great book, and one that was sorely needed. It's just what I wanted, and my students also love it. They range from cognitive psychology to molecular biology and biophysics, and the text is suitable for all. I think you've written a classic! --Thomas Brown, Yale University

Congratulations on a great book, and one that was sorely needed. It's just what I wanted, and my students also love it. They range from cognitive psychology to molecular biology and biophysics, and the text is suitable for all. I think you've written a classic! --Thomas Brown, Yale University

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Rudy, Jerry W.
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