Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

Previous Page


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #303
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Changing Neurobiology With Behavior: How Expectation of Reward and Punishment Influence Learning and Remembering Via Distinct Brain Systems

Monday, May 25, 2015
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
006AB (CC)
Area: TPC; Domain: Theory
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Edward K. Morris, Ph.D.
Chair: Edward K. Morris (The University of Kansas)
R. ALISON ADCOCK (Duke University)
Dr. R. Alison Adcock is an assistant professor of psychiatry, neurobiology, psychology, and neuroscience at Duke University, and core faculty in the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Adcock received a B.A. in psychology from Emory University with one year of training at St. Hilda's College Oxford and an M.D./Ph.D. in neurobiology from Yale University. She was trained in general psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Her research fellowship integrated clinical work at UCSF and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center with human neuroimaging research at Stanford. Work in her laboratory aims to understand how the neural circuit implementation of motivation--in particular motivation to learn--influences the explanatory models of the world we construct, and in turn, behavior. Her laboratory uses conventional and real-time fMRI, pharmacological challenges, physiology, and behavior to understand how the neuromodulatory systems involved in motivated behavior shape long-term memory. The work extends from learning in the laboratory to real-world exploration of space, to collaborations funded in Singapore to examine these functional systems in youth at risk for severe mental illness. A recent National Institutes of Health Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) funds efforts to translate her basic findings about memory enhancement into "behavioral neurostimulation" strategies for better mental health and educational practice.

Although researchers often discuss how the brain produces behavior, it is also true that behavior and experience influence the brain. Dr. Adcock's research has shown that distinct motivational states can be elicited by expectation of reward or punishment, and influence learning and memory via distinct brain systems. These different motivational states correspond to differential activity and connectivity in brain circuits implicated not only in motivation but also in learning and memory. This selectivity in memory mechanisms, in turn, determines whether the information in memory is detailed versus general or flexible versus rigid. Dr. Adcock's recent work has shown that people can self-induce activation of in neuromodulatory systems capable of broadly influencing brain function and thus shaping learning during therapy--a finding with implications for the treatment of mental illness.

Target Audience:

Clinicians and basic scientists.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants should be able to: (1) name at least two constraints on the development of pre-emptive interventions; (2) describe at least two cognitive foundations for learning-based therapies that involve the medial temporal lobe memory systems; (3) describe two different mechanisms of motivational control of medial temporal lobe function and discuss their implications for learning-based therapies; (4) name one therapeutic implication of the critical role of dopamine (and other neuromodulators) in neural plasticity; and (5) describe two methods of modulating neural plasticity that could be used for targeted enhancement of learning during a therapeutic experience.
Keyword(s): learning, motivational states, neural circuits, reward/punishment



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh