NCBI ROFL: Shocking study finds it's hard to learn without a brain.

By ncbi rofl | March 29, 2011 7:00 pm

Unsuccessful reinforcement of a discrete action in paramecia, P. caudatum.

“Previous research into the possibility of learning in paramecium in this laboratory has shown that these organisms can learn to remain in a specific location based on cathode shock reinforcement. The present experiment was designed to assess whether paramecium could learn a discrete action as opposed to remaining in a specific area, using cathode shock as a reinforcer. Results for a sample of 40 indicate that such learning did not take place. It is possible that the learning of discrete actions requires a nervous system.”

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Just for fun – an awesome movie of paramecium:

Photo: flickr/redfoxinict

Related content:
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Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Wham, bam, thank you ma’am: an evolutionary perspective.
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Bonus double feature: pigeons vs. grad students, it’s a tie!

WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

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About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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