Title

The Historical Significance of the Discovery of Long-Term Potentiation: An Overview and Evaluation for Nonexperts

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 9-1-2018

School

Psychology

Abstract

This article evaluates, in nontechnical language for those not familiar with neuroscience jargon, the historical significance of Bliss and Lømo's (1973) landmark discovery of long term potentiation (LTP) by establishing precedent context, describing the finding, and then looking at the subsequent decades of LTP research. To set the LTP discovery in context, the article briefly reviews the precedent theories of synaptic information storage and the empirical precedents of frequency potentiation, synaptic facilitation, and the identification of the hippocampal area as being memory related. I then discuss and explain Bliss and Lømo's intitial work whereby they found synaptic strengthening that lasted for hours. To better evaluate the importance of their discovery, the article discusses the confirmatory evidence of the decades of LTP research that followed. In this way the article evaluates the replicability, generalizability, and mechanisms behind the phenomena. Perhaps most importantly, I discuss the evidence for LTP being an important mechanism that explains some aspects of learning and memory. The article concludes that at this time Bliss and Lømo's discovery looks to be a profound discoverty in the history of science.

Publication Title

American Journal of Psychology

Volume

131

Issue

3

First Page

369

Last Page

380

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