Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology



First Advisor

Butt, Allen

Second Advisor

Chien, Yuchin

Third Advisor

Crawford, Cynthia


The experiment tested the hypothesis that the acetylcholine (ACh) release in the rat auditory cortex is greater in rats undergoing auditory classical conditioning compared to rats in a truly random control paradigm where no associative learning takes place and that this is mediated by prefrontal afferent projections influencing the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM), which in turn modulates ACh release in neocortex. Rats with bilateral ibotenic acid lesions of medial prefrontal and agranular insular cortices were tested in an auditory classical conditioning task while ACh was collected from the primary auditory cortex. It was hypothesized that lesions of these prefrontal areas would prevent learning-related increases of ACh release in the primary auditory cortex. The hypothesized results were supported. Results from this experiment provide unique evidence that medial prefrontal cortex projections to the NBM are important for mediating cortical ACh release during associative learning.