Despite identical learning experiences, individuals differ in the memory formed of those experiences. Molecular mechanisms that control the neurophysiological bases of long-term memory formation might control how precisely the memory formed reflects the actually perceived experience. Memory formed with sensory specificity determines its utility for selectively cueing subsequent behavior, even in novel situations. Here, a rodent model of auditory learning capitalized on individual differences in learning-induced auditory neuroplasticity to identify and characterize neural substrates for sound-specific (vs. general) memory of the training signal's acoustic frequency. Animals that behaviorally revealed a naturally induced signal-“specific” memory exhibited long-lasting signal-specific neurophysiological plasticity in auditory cortical and subcortical evoked responses. Animals with “general” memories did not exhibit learning-induced changes in these same measures. Manipulating a histone deacetylase during memory consolidation biased animals to have more signal-specific memory. Individual differences validated this brain-behavior relationship in both natural and manipulated memory formation, such that the degree of change in sensory cortical and subcortical neurophysiological responses could be used to predict the behavioral precision of memory.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience