Mercury and Cognition

  • Shabnum Nabi


Nervous system toxicity is revealed by overt neurological signs that are patently observable, as well as by more subtle effects on behavioral adaptation to ever-changing environments. The latter requires refined testing but is worth the effort, as the impairments that are revealed can be highly informative about the subtle effects of low-level exposure. These effects fall under the umbrella of cognitive effects and are typically reflected in operant or respondent conditioning phenomena as well as “simpler” processes such as habituation and sensitization. They entail manipulation of plastic behavior that has been trained or established during the course of a lifetime. Impairment is reflected in the course of acquisition or in the expression of behavior during a stable baseline. The return for the investment in the extensive testing that is required is the revelation of effects on memory, learning, perception, sensory–motor function, or other subtle effects that significantly impair functioning in an industrialized society (Weiss and Cory-Slechta 1994).


Motor Deficit Operant Behavior Lever Press Discrimination Reversal MeHg Exposure 
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© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shabnum Nabi
    • 1
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Brain Research Centre (IBRC) Jawaharlal Nehru Medical CollegeAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia

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