The effects of lesions to the fornix and dorsomedial thalamus on concurrent discrimination learning by rats

P. R. Hunt, Nick Neave, C. Shaw, John Aggleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rats with lesions in either the fornix or the thalamic nucleus medialis dorsalis were unimpaired on the acquisition of two object discrimination tasks. The same animals were then tested on a concurrent learning task in which various object discriminations were presented at different rates during the same session. This arrangement was primarily designed to minimise any response bias effects. Animals were able to acquire the various concurrent tasks, even when only one trial per day was given for a particular discrimination. It was found that fornix lesions had little or no effect and only produced a mild impairment when the rate of stimulus presentation resembled that used in typical concurrent tasks. Lesions of medialis dorsalis produced a more general, but again mild, deficit. In a final task, the animals were trained to discriminate between two stimuli composed of common elements arranged in different spatial combinations. Fornix lesions impaired acquisition of this spatial configural discrimination, while lesions of medialis dorsalis had a variable effect. The results indicate that fornix lesions can spare concurrent discrimination learning, and that any deficits may be related to interference effects associated with common elements in the stimuli. Lesions in medialis dorsalis appear to affect the initial learning of reward-based performance rules.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-205
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume62
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 1994

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