Context is a critical variable in extinction learning. Yet its poorly understood what exactly constitutes a context and why extinction is so sensitive to it. By testing pigeons in a novel arena-setup we will establish if context is a physical or a learned stimulus property. We will further use optogenetic stimulation to probe the causality in the underlying neural network. Using modern, wireless, neurophysiology in crows we will also test if mechanisms of attention or of generalization can account for the difference in context-sensitivity between acquisition and extinction.
Guiding questions of A19:
Kalenscher T, Windmann S, Diekamp B, Rose J, Güntürkün O, Colombo M (2005) Single units in the pigeon brain integrate reward amount and time-to-reward in an impulsive choice task. Curr Biol. 15(7): 594–602.