Sydney Trask

Degree: Ph.D. University of Vermont, 2018

Research Interests

I am interested in the ways the brain encodes, stores, retrieves, and updates memory. I am particularly interested in understanding memory for context, or the environment in which events take place. Successful encoding and retrieval of context allows us to select and guide our behavior in a way that encourages situationally appropriate responding. However, alterations in this type of learning and memory are common in symptomology that underlies several neuropsychiatric disorders, ranging from PTSD to age-related dementia. Understanding how memory for context is formed, retrieved, and altered at both the circuit and molecular level, will provide one crucial step forward to treatments aimed at reducing maladaptive behaviors stemming from contextually inappropriate behaviors.

Recent Publications

Trask, S., Pullins, S.E., Ferrara, N.C., & Helmstetter, F.J. (2021). The anterior retrosplenial cortex encodes event-related information and the posterior retrosplenial cortex encodes context-related information during memory formation. Neuropsychopharmacology, 43, 1386-1392.

Dulka, B. N., Trask, S., & Helmstetter, F. J. (2021). Age-related memory impairment and sex-specific alterations in phosphorylation of the Rpt6 proteasome subunit and polyubiquitination in the basolateral amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 13, 163.

Ferrara, N.C., Trask, S., & Rosenkranz, J.A. (in press). Maturation of amygdala inputs regulate shifts in social and fear behaviors: A substrate for developmental effects of stress. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.

Trask, S., Dulka, B. N., & Helmstetter, F. J. (2020). Age-related memory impairment is associated with increased zif268 protein accumulation and decreased Rpt6 phosphorylation. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21, 5352.

Trask, S., Reis, D. S., Ferrara, N. C., & Helmstetter, F. J. (2020). Decreased cued fear discrimination learning in female rats as a function of estrous phase. Learning & Memory, 27, 254-257.
Trask, S., Shipman, M. L., Green, J. T., & Bouton, M. E. (2020). Some factors that restore goal-direction to habitual behavior. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 169, 107161.
Ferrara, N.C., Trask, S., Pullins, S.E., & Helmstetter, F.J. (2019). The dorsal hippocampus mediates synaptic destabilization and memory lability in the amygdala in the absence of contextual novelty. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 166, 107089.
Ferrara, N.C., Jarome, T.J., Cullen, P.K., Orsi, S.A., Kwapis, J.L., Trask, S., Pullins, S.E., & Helmstetter, F.J. (2019). GluR2 endocytosis-dependent protein degradation in the amygdala mediates memory updating, Scientific Reports, 9, 5180.
Trask, S. (2019). Cues associated with alternative reinforcement can attenuate resurgence of an extinguished free operant response, Learning & Behavior, 47, 66-79.
Thrailkill, E. A., Trask, S., Vidal, P., Alcalá, J. A., & Bouton, M. E. (2018). Stimulus control of actions and habits: A role for reinforcer predictability and attention in the development of habitual behavior, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 44, 370-384.
Trask, S., Keim, C. L., & Bouton, M. E. (2018). Factors that encourage generalization from extinction to test reduce resurgence of an extinguished operant response, Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 110, 11-23.
Trask, S., & Bouton, M. E. (2018). Retrieval practice after multiple context changes, but not long retention intervals, reduces the impact of a final context change on instrumental behavior. Learning & Behavior, 46, 213-221.
Trask, S., Thrailkill, E. A., & Bouton, M. E. (2017). Occasion setting, inhibition, and the contextual control of extinction in Pavlovian and instrumental (operant) learning. Behavioural Processes, 137, 64-72.
Trask, S., Shipman, M. L., Green, J. T., & Bouton, M. E. (2017). Inactivation of the prelimbic cortex attenuates context-dependent operant responding. Journal of Neuroscience, 37, 2317-2324.
Trask, S., & Bouton, M. E. (2016). Discriminative properties of the reinforcer can be used to attenuate the renewal of extinguished operant behavior. Learning & Behavior, 44, 151–161.
Bouton, M. E., Trask, S., & Carranza-Jasso, R. (2016). Learning to inhibit the response during instrumental (operant) extinction. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 42, 246–258.
Trask, S., & Bouton, M. E. (2014). Contextual control of operant behavior: evidence for hierarchical associations in instrumental learning. Learning & Behavior, 42, 281–288.


Sydney Trask

Assistant Professor, Neuroscience and Behavior

Mailing Address:
Department of Psychological Sciences
Purdue University
703 Third Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081 USA

Campus Address: PSYC
Psychological Sciences


CV: Sydney Trask


Psychological Sciences, 703 Third Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-6061 FAX: (765) 496-1264

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