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When is the rat retrosplenial cortex required for stimulus integration?

Nelson, Andrew, Hindley, Emma, Vann, Seralynne and Aggleton, John 2018. When is the rat retrosplenial cortex required for stimulus integration? Behavioral Neuroscience 132 (5) , pp. 366-377. 10.1037/bne0000267

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The rodent retrosplenial cortex is known to be vital for spatial cognition but evidence also points to a role in processing non-spatial information. It has been suggested that the retrosplenial cortex may serve as a site of integration of incoming sensory information. To examine this proposal, the current set of experiments assessed the impact of excitotoxic lesions in the retrosplenial cortex on two behavioral tasks that tax animals’ ability to process multiple and overlapping environmental stimuli. In Experiment 1 rats with retrosplenial lesions acquired a negative patterning discrimination, a form of configural learning that can only be solved by learning the conjunction of cues. Subsequent transfer tests confirmed that both the lesion and control animals had solved the task by using configural representations. Furthermore, in Experiment 2 a second cohort of retrosplenial lesion animals successfully acquired conditioned inhibition. Nevertheless, the same animals failed a subsequent summation test which assesses the ability to transfer what has been learnt about one stimulus to another stimulus in the absence of reinforcement. Taken together these results suggest that in the non-spatial domain, the retrosplenial cortex is not required for forming associations between multiple or overlapping environmental stimuli and, consequently, retrosplenial engagement in such processes is more selective than previously envisaged.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0735-7044
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 June 2018
Date of Acceptance: 18 June 2018
Last Modified: 03 May 2019 07:56

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