Behavioral Methods to Study Learning and Memory in Rats

  • Jorge Alberto QuillfeldtEmail author


This century-old observation is still valid today, despite everything we have learned about the mammal nervous system, especially in the area of neurobiology of learning and memory. After “training” an experimental animal, such as a rat or a mouse, the only way to be sure that a “memory” was formed is by evoking it back, i.e., by recalling it in a “test” session: this “memory” is expressed by a behavior that differs from that one emitted in the training session. Until proof to the contrary, the best explanation for this new response to the same context is that some kind of internal modification—a “record”—mediates it inside the animal: this is what we call “memory”. Everything else is consequence: if recalling depends upon the established memory trace intensity, it will be a function of the experience intensity during the acquisition, or “training”, session, and so on.


Conditioned Stimulus Test Session Unconditioned Stimulus Escape Latency Behavioral Task 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Science involves a long apprenticeship and, at last, always remains a collective endeavor. Anyway, some people deserve to be mentioned with special care: I would like to thank my former tutor, Dr. Ivan Izquierdo (PUCRS, Brazil), for the privilege of his friendship. I would also like to acknowledge Dr. James McGaugh (UCI, USA) for all the precious lessons over the years. Finally, I would like to thank my good friends Dr. Diana Jerusalinsky (UBA, Argentina) and Victor Molina (UNC, Argentina). I also thank each one of them for kindly reading this manuscript, but I, alone, am responsible for any errors found here.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiophysicsUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil

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