Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Seul Ah Lee L&S Biological Sciences

Effects of Reward History on Cue-Reward Learning

Animals, including humans, form associations between rewards and cues that predict them through the process of cue-reward learning (CRL). CRL has long served as an advantageous tool in evolution for acquisition of rewards such as food and mating. However, CRL can also be maladaptive in disorders such as addiction, wherein drug-associated cues drive compulsive drug-seeking behavior and relapse.
Past and recent studies have found that CRL largely depends on cue-reward contingency, or how much the occurrence of rewards depends on the occurrence of cues. CRL is attenuated when contingency is degraded through introduction of uncued rewards delivered between cue-reward experiences. Yet, how CRL is affected by reward history, including the rate and number of prior reward experiences, before cue introduction is unclear. This project will investigate how reward exposure prior to the introduction of its predictive cues affects the rate and strength of CRL. Understanding the parameters that are important for CRL will provide insight into both healthy and disordered learning.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for this generous support towards my project. This opportunity to fully immerse myself in research, oversee every aspect of this project, and share my findings with others is extremely valuable. I look forward to making meaningful contributions to science from the knowledge and experience that I gain this summer.
Profile image of Seul Ah Lee
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Vijay Namboodiri
Sponsor: Pergo
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