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From altered synaptic plasticity to atypical learning : a computational model of Down syndrome

Tovar Y Romo, Angel Eugenio and Westermann, Gert and Torres, Alvaro (2018) From altered synaptic plasticity to atypical learning : a computational model of Down syndrome. Cognition, 171. pp. 15-24. ISSN 0010-0277

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    Abstract

    Learning and memory rely on the adaptation of synaptic connections. Research on the neurophysiology of Down syndrome has characterized an atypical pattern of synaptic plasticity with limited long-term potentiation (LTP) and increased long-term depression (LTD). Here we present a neurocomputational model that instantiates this LTP/LTD imbalance to explore its impact on tasks of associative learning. In Study 1, we ran a series of computational simulations to analyze the learning of simple and overlapping stimulus associations in a model of Down syndrome compared with a model of typical development. Learning in the Down syndrome model was slower and more susceptible to interference effects. We found that interference effects could be overcome with dedicated stimulation schedules. In Study 2 we ran a fourth set of simulations and an empirical study with participants with Down syndrome and typically developing children to test the predictions of our model. The model adequately predicted the performance of the human participants in a serial reaction time task, an implicit learning task that relies on associative learning mechanisms. Critically, typical and atypical behavior was explained by the interactions between neural plasticity constraints and the stimulation schedule. Our model provides a mechanistic account of learning impairments based on these interactions, and a causal link between atypical synaptic plasticity and associative learning.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Cognition
    Additional Information: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Cognition, 171, 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2017.10.021
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Neurocomputational model ; Down syndrome ; LTP/LTD balance ; Associative learning ; Implicit learning ; Serial reaction time task
    Subjects:
    Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
    ID Code: 88353
    Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
    Deposited On: 23 Oct 2017 11:22
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 16:46
    Identification Number:
    URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/88353

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