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meeting posters and abstracts [ posters presented at meetings and their abstracts ]
Neurogenetic dissection of learning-by-doing in Drosophila (poster)
AuthorBjörn Brembs
Author email bjoern©brembs.net
Author websitehttp://brembs.net
DescriptionAt the heart of learning-by-doing lies a well-known psychological phenomenon: information will be remembered better if it is actively generated rather than passively read or heard. First described in humans, this generation effect can also be observed in various animal models. However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the generation effect are unknown. Here we show that two reciprocal interactions between its active and passive components contribute to the generation effect in flies. One interaction consists of the active (skill-learning) component facilitating the passive (fact-learning) component. Fact-learning, on the other hand, inhibits skill-learning. Experiments with adenylyl cyclase I deficient rutabaga mutant flies revealed that the fact- but not the skill-learning component requires this evolutionarily conserved learning gene. Using mushroom-body deficient transgenic flies we observed that the mushroom-bodies mediate the inhibition of skill-learning. This inhibition also enables generalization and prevents premature habit formation. Extended training in wildtype flies produced a phenocopy of mushroom-body impaired flies, such that generalization was abolished and goal-directed actions were transformed into habitual responses. Thus, our results identify various neural processes underlying learning-by-doing, delineate some of their synergisms and provide a framework for further dissecting them in a genetically tractable model system.
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