Short Long And Ultralongterm Forms Of Learning

As we discussed in the first chapter, essentially all forms of learning exhibit themselves in either short- or long-term forms. Indeed, with only a few exceptions, the duration of the memory for a learned event depends on the number of times an animal experiences the behavior-modifying stimulus. A single sensitizing stimulation may elicit sensitization that lasts only a few minutes, whereas repeated stimulation results in sensitization lasting hours to days (See Figure 4 in Chapter 1). Repeated presentations of multiple training trials can elicit sensitization lasting for even more prolonged periods, in many cases memories that last a significant fraction of the animal's lifetime. Thus, the acquisition of memory is a graded phenomenon. As we have discussed many times in reference to LTP, it is intriguing to wonder how repeated presentations of the identical stimulus can uniquely elicit a long-lasting behavioral alteration, especially when one considers that the behavioral output (e.g., enhanced responsiveness) is identical in the short- and long-lasting forms.

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