Operant conditioning in invertebrates

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2003 Dec;13(6):710-7. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2003.10.002.

Abstract

Learning to anticipate future events on the basis of past experience with the consequences of one's own behavior (operant conditioning) is a simple form of learning that humans share with most other animals, including invertebrates. Three model organisms have recently made significant contributions towards a mechanistic model of operant conditioning, because of their special technical advantages. Research using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster implicated the ignorant gene in operant conditioning in the heat-box, research on the sea slug Aplysia californica contributed a cellular mechanism of behavior selection at a convergence point of operant behavior and reward, and research on the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis elucidated the role of a behavior-initiating neuron in operant conditioning. These insights demonstrate the usefulness of a variety of invertebrate model systems to complement and stimulate research in vertebrates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology*
  • Invertebrates / physiology*
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena