Diminished responses to stimuli defined as habituation can serve as a gating mechanism for repetitive environmental cues with little predictive value and importance. We demonstrate that wild-type animals diminish their responses to electric shock stimuli with properties characteristic of short- and long-term habituation. We used spatially restricted abrogation of neurotransmission to identify brain areas involved in this behavioral response. We find that the mushroom bodies and, in particular, the alpha/beta lobes appear to guard against habituating prematurely to repetitive electric shock stimuli. In addition to protection from premature habituation, the mushroom bodies are essential for spontaneous recovery and dishabituation. These results reveal a novel modulatory role of the mushroom bodies on responses to repetitive stimuli in agreement with and complementary to their established roles in olfactory learning and memory.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience