The behavioral state of an individual can dramatically alter how information is processed in its neural circuits. In this study, Albergaria et al. show that locomotion enhances the performance of a cerebellum-dependent behavior…….performance in delay eyeblink conditioning. Specifically, increased locomotor speed in mice drove earlier onset of learning and enhancement of learned responses that were dissociable from changes in arousal/sensory modality. Locomotor activity modulated delay eyeblink conditioning through increased activation of the mossy fiber pathway within the cerebellum. Taken together, the study provides evidence for behavioral state modulation in associative learning and suggests a “potential mechanism through which engaging in movement can improve an individual’s ability to learn”.
Albergaria C, Silva NT, Pritchett DL and Carey MR: Locomotor activity modulates associative learning in mouse cerebellum. Nature Neuroscience 21: 725–735 (2018).