Neural correlates of two different types of extinction learning in the amygdala central nucleus

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Abstract

Extinction is a fundamental form of memory updating in which one learns to stop expecting an event that no longer occurs. This learning ensues when one experiences a change in environmental contingencies, that is, when an expected outcome fails to occur (simple extinction), or when a novel inflated expectation of a double outcome (overexpectation) is in conflict with the real outcome, and is a process that has been linked to amygdala function. Here, we show that in rats, the same neuronal population in the amygdala central nucleus updates reward expectancies and behaviour in both types of extinction, and neural changes in one paradigm are reflected in the other. This work may have implications for the management of addiction and anxiety disorders that require treatments based on the outcome omission, and disorders such as obesity that could use overexpectation, but not omission strategies.

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Iordanova, M. D., Deroche, M. L. D., Esber, G. R., & Schoenbaum, G. (2016). Neural correlates of two different types of extinction learning in the amygdala central nucleus. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12330

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