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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #449

Leveraging Olfaction to Study Innate Behavior in the Mouse

Monday, May 28, 2018
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 7-9
Area: SCI; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: William Stoops, Ph.D.
Chair: William Stoops (University of Kentucky)
LISA STOWERS (The Scripps Research Institute )
Dr. Lisa Stowers is a professor of neuroscience at The Scripps Research Institute. She studies the ligands, neurons, and brain nuclei that initiate social behavior using molecular genetics and genomics; her work is determining the rules that generate the information coding of neuronal networks.

The neural code and mechanisms that underlie the generation of behavior has been difficult to crack. Innate behaviors such as aggression, fear, and mating may pose a tractable model because they are highly conserved across evolution, their proper regulation and display is essential for fitness, and some of the essential circuit, amygdala and hypothalamus, are known. However, the identity of the precise neurons and logic of the circuits that generate these innate behaviors remains largely unknown and therefore unstudied. In the mouse, all of these essential behaviors can be robustly initiated by olfactory cues. We have identified specific sensory ligands that now enable us to precisely stimulate and identify the neural mechanisms that generate behavior. We are creating and assessing novel tools to be able to identify and manipulate the circuits that generate behavior. In addition, we are studying how the sensory information elicits variable responses depending on state, gender, or the complexity of the environment.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to:(1) describe how the use of a strong behavioral paradigm facilitates identification and study of underlying circuits and mechanisms; (2) discuss the extent to which olfactory-promoted innate behavior is robust and reliable between individuals and analyze the extent to which this suggests common neural coding; (3) assess how an individuals internal state (stress, dominance, recent experiences) can alter a behavioral response to a fixed environment.



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