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The effect of retrosplenial cortex lesions in rats on incidental and active spatial learning

Nelson, Andrew John Dudley, Hindley, Emma, Pearce, John M., Vann, Seralynne Denise and Aggleton, John Patrick 2015. The effect of retrosplenial cortex lesions in rats on incidental and active spatial learning. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 9 , 11. 10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00011

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Abstract

The study examined the importance of the retrosplenial cortex for the incidental learning of the spatial arrangement of distinctive features within a scene. In a modified Morris water-maze, rats spontaneously learnt the location of an escape platform prior to swimming to that location. For this, rats were repeatedly placed on a submerged platform in one corner of either a rectangular (Experiment 1) or square (Experiments 2, 3) pool with walls of different appearance. The rats were then released in the center of the pool for their first test trial. In Experiment 1, the correct corner and its diagonally opposite partner (also correct) were specified by the geometric properties of the pool. Rats with retrosplenial lesions took longer to first reach a correct corner, subsequently showing an attenuated preference for the correct corners. A reduced preference for the correct corner was also found in Experiment 2, when platform location was determined by the juxtaposition of highly salient visual cues (black vs. white walls). In Experiment 3, less salient visual cues (striped vs. white walls) led to a robust lesion impairment, as the retrosplenial lesioned rats showed no preference for the correct corner. When subsequently trained actively to swim to the correct corner over successive trials, retrosplenial lesions spared performance on all three discriminations. The findings not only reveal the importance of the retrosplenial cortex for processing various classes of visuospatial information but also highlight a broader role in the incidental learning of the features of a spatial array, consistent with the translation of scene information.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Medicine
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN: 1662-5153
Funders: BBSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 13 January 2015
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2019 11:00
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/71489

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