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Analysis of associative learning in the terrestrial mollusc Limax maximus. II. Appetitive learning


The odor and taste processing systems of the terrestrial mollusc Limax maximus have been shown capable of a number of complex computations. Most of the complex higher-order features of Limax learning have been demonstrated using differential aversive conditioning. The present experiments probe the appetitive learning ability of Limax. In the first experiment a differential appetitive classical conditioning procedure was used. An aversive CS+ odor was paired with an attractive taste while a CS odor was explicitly unpaired with the attractive taste. This appetitive conditioning procedure dramatically increased the preference for the CS+ odor. Further experiments determined the time course of acquisition, the effect of an extinction procedure and long-term retention of the appetitive conditioning. Now that Limax has been shown capable of appetitive conditioning, the neural network simulation of Limax learning, called LIMAX, can be examined for its ability to display appetitive conditioning.

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AA :

amyl acetate

CS :

conditioned stimulus


interstimulus interval


intertrial interval



US :

unconditioned stimulus


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Sahley, C.L., Martin, K.A. & Gelperin, A. Analysis of associative learning in the terrestrial mollusc Limax maximus. II. Appetitive learning. J Comp Physiol A 167, 339–345 (1990).

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Key words

  • Conditioning
  • Neural networks
  • Odor processing
  • Synaptic plasticity
  • Learning models