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The Yerkes-Dodson law and appropriate stimuli for conditioned taste aversion in Lymnaea.


E Ito,M Yamagishi,S Takigami,M Sakakibara,Y Fujito,K Lukowiak


The pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis can learn conditioned taste aversion and then consolidate it into long-term memory (LTM). A high-voltage electric shock was used as the unconditioned stimulus, where we have previously used KCl. We varied the strength of both the conditioned and unconditioned stimuli to determine whether the so-called Yerkes-Dodson law prevailed. This is an empirical relationship between the state of arousal and LTM formation, showing that there is an optimal level of arousal leading to memory formation. However, too little or too much arousal results in poorer LTM. We found here that the most appropriate stimuli to use in taste aversion training in Lymnaea were a 10 mmol l(-1) sucrose solution as the conditioned stimulus and a 3 s electric shock as the unconditioned stimulus.

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