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3203 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR 97202, USA

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Chronic Drug Use, Opponent Processes, and the Amygdala

Understanding the interactions between systems that mediate appetitive and aversive learning has been critical for understanding basic neurobiology of learning and memory, as well as for developing theories of learning. Historically, aversive and appetitive learning have been studied by examining outcomes (such as Pavlovian unconditioned stimuli or instrumental reinforcers) that have positive or negative valence. The study of abused substances is particularly interesting from the appetitive-aversive interactions perspective because the same outcome has both appetitive and aversive properties. The control that these properties have over behavior may change from initial drug exposure to prolonged, chronic drug-taking. In this talk, we focus on the ways in which the amygdala is thought to modulate aversive and appetitive learning and how understanding its role in these processes is key to understanding the transition from casual to compulsive drug use.

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