Drosophila's contribution to the genetics of learning and memory

Published on September 29, 2008 Reviewed on May 31, 2018   91 min

Other Talks in the Category: Neuroscience

0:00
Hello, my name is Tim Tully. I am an academic grandson of Seymour Benzer. And my topic today is to talk to you about drosophila's contribution to the genetics of learning and memory.
0:13
In fact, the historical roots of interest in the genetics of learning and memory can be traced all the way back to Francis Galton in 1869 when he wrote a book called Hereditary Genius. Basically, he looked around with families that he knew and colleagues that he knew and observed that people tended to behave similarly to one another within families. And this fascinated him, especially from the point of view of cognitive abilities. And he began to study it with the very crude methods that were available to them at the time.
0:49
In the late 1800s and early 1900s psychologists began to formalize what we mean when we think of learning and memory in laboratory experiments. Pavlov, who was probably the most brilliant of these psychologists working on the problem formally distinguished two types of learning in the laboratory. A simpler form was called non-associative learning, which could be either sensitization which was an increase in a behavioral response due to exposure to a single stimulus. Or habituation, which was a decrease in a behavioral response due to exposure to a single stimulus. That would be sort of listening to a ringing telephone and after a while you don't hear it anymore because you've habituated to the sound. A more complicated form of learning was called associative learning. And that basically referred to change in a behavioral response due to the temporal association of two stimuli in time. There are two basic types, operant conditioning which means that an animal is rewarded or reinforced for doing something in response to a stimulus. If the animal doesn't do the right response to a stimulus, it is not rewarded or punished. Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is the temporal association of two stimuli in time regardless of what the animal does in response to the stimuli. And in fact, pavlovian learning is what we will talk about going forward. With this kind of experimental study on the psychology of learning and
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Drosophila's contribution to the genetics of learning and memory

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