English summaries

English Summaries (02/2016)

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Jari L. O. Kurkela, Arto Lipponen, Elisa M. Ruohonen & Piia Astikainen

Optogenetics – Shedding light on memory research

How do we form long-lasting memories from our experiences and store them in neural networks? The role of the hippocampus is known to be crucial for the functioning of episodic memory. Thus far research has mainly utilized behavioral and brain imaging methods in humans, neuropsychological case studies and brain manipulations in animals. Optogenetics is a relatively new method that enables control of a specific population of neurons in a temporally precise fashion. In this review we describe how animal studies utilizing optogenetics have increased our understanding of the functional relationship between the different hippocampal structures and the neocortex during memory encoding and retrieval. The studies have focused on contextual memory which in animals is considered to correspond to episodic memory in humans. The results suggest that memory consolidation theory is not entirely conclusive in its present form.

Keywords: learning, episodic memory, optogenetics

Heta Yli-Länttä

Perceptions of social anxiety and its treatment from the sufferers’ points of view

In this article I studied aspects connected to social anxiety and its treatment. The data consists of experiences of people who suffer from social fears (= 67). I collected the data from an internet-based public discussion board, which was in operation during the years 2008–2012. During this time there were 298 messages from 67 different authors. Social representations theory was an operational tool when conceptualizing research objects. When analyzing the discussion I used the content analysis method. I classified the views on social anxiety and its treatment as biomedical, psychological, social and situational. The study showed that there is no single factor explaining the problem and no treatment can be regarded as a general panacea to the problem. Net discussions indicate the diversity of the problem, while expert perceptions usually emphasize one reason and one treatment. The medical model was the prior perception guiding the treatment, but medication was felt to be inadequate for holistic well-being. Sufferers’ perceptions indicate that the prevailing medical model of social anxiety care is not adequate in treating different types of fears. Interaction between disciplines is required in order to respond to sufferers’ needs.

Keywords: social anxiety, social representations theory, situational, perceptions, perceptions of treatment