Facilitated habituation: Strychnine dose-response effects on neural and behavioral habituation
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The effects of two doses of strychnine sulfate (0.125 mg/kg and 0.500 mg/kg) on mouse neural and behavioral habituation were assessed. Reliable alterations in concurrent neural (spontaneous and evoked) activity and spontaneous behavioral activity were obtained as the result of training.
Neural habituation was characterized by higher frequency, lower amplitude EEG activity, reduced hippocampal theta activity, increased amplitudes in early components of visual evoked responses, and transient increases followed by progressive decreases of late component amplitudes of the visual evoked responses. Behavioral habituation appeared as decreased gross activity and changes in mouse orientation to cogent features of the test chamber.
Low strychnine doses (0.125 mg/kg) reliably facilitated habituation to light flashes and produced lessened sensitivity to dishabituation stimuli. High strychnine doses (0.500 mg/kg) disrupted habituation and produced heightened sensitivity to dishabituation stimuli.
The results were accommodated by a modified dualprocess theory of habituation; single process views of habituation were inadequate. The significance of these results to drug facilitation was discussed in terms of optimal arousal and the mediation of pro- and retroactive influences on learning. The characterization of processes underlying memory storage seems amenable to further clarification using CNS stimulants known to operate on such processes.
KeywordsTheta Activity Strychnine Light Flash Dualprocess Theory Process View
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