Effect of Tranquilizers on the Reward or Punishment Centers

Panic Away

Panic Away Handbook

Get Instant Access

Administration of a tranquilizer, such as chlorpro-mazine, usually inhibits both the reward and the punishment centers, thereby decreasing the affective reactivity of the animal. Therefore, it is presumed that tranquilizers function in psychotic states by suppressing many of the important behavioral areas of the hypothalamus and its associated regions of the limbic brain.

Importance of Reward or Punishment in Learning and Memory—Habituation Versus Reinforcement

Animal experiments have shown that a sensory experience that causes neither reward nor punishment is hardly remembered at all. Electrical recordings from the brain show that a newly experienced sensory stimulus almost always excites multiple areas in the cerebral cortex. But, if the sensory experience does not elicit a sense of either reward or punishment, repetition of the stimulus over and over leads to almost complete extinction of the cerebral cortical response. That is, the animal becomes habituated to that specific sensory stimulus and thereafter ignores it.

If the stimulus does cause either reward or punishment rather than indifference, the cerebral cortical response becomes progressively more and more intense during repeated stimulation instead of fading away, and the response is said to be reinforced. An animal builds up strong memory traces for sensations that are either rewarding or punishing but, conversely, develops complete habituation to indifferent sensory stimuli.

It is evident that the reward and punishment centers of the limbic system have much to do with selecting the information that we learn, usually throwing away more than 99 per cent of it and selecting less than 1 per cent for retention.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Do Not Panic

Do Not Panic

This guide Don't Panic has tips and additional information on what you should do when you are experiencing an anxiety or panic attack. With so much going on in the world today with taking care of your family, working full time, dealing with office politics and other things, you could experience a serious meltdown. All of these things could at one point cause you to stress out and snap.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment