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Fornix lesions can facilitate acquisition of the transverse patterning task: a challenge for "configural" theories of hippocampal function

Bussey, T. J., Warburton, E. C., Aggleton, John Patrick and Muir, Janice L. 1998. Fornix lesions can facilitate acquisition of the transverse patterning task: a challenge for "configural" theories of hippocampal function. The Journal of Neuroscience 18 (4) , pp. 1622-1631.

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Configural theories of hippocampal function predict that hippocampal dysfunction should impair acquisition of the transverse patterning task, which involves the concurrent solution of three discrimination problems: A+ versus B−; B+ versus C−; and C+ versus A−. The present study tested this prediction in rats using computer-graphic stimuli presented on a touchscreen. Experiment 1 assessed the effects of fornix lesions when the three problems were introduced sequentially (phase 1: A+ vs B−; phase 2: A+ vs B−, B+ vs C−; phase 3: A+ vs B−, B+ vs C−, C+ vs A−). Fornix lesions significantly facilitated acquisition of the complete transverse patterning task (phase 3) but had no effect on the number of sessions or errors required to attain criterion during phase 1 or phase 2. In experiment 2, in which all three problems were presented concurrently from the outset of training, fornix-lesioned animals outperformed control animals during the seventh block of acquisition trials and were not impaired during any stage of acquisition. Importantly, these same animals were significantly impaired on two allocentric spatial tasks: T-maze alternation (experiments 1 and 2) and the Morris Swim Task (experiment 1). These results contradict the predictions of configural theories of hippocampal function and cast doubt on the popular notion that spatial learning is a special case of configural learning.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: hippocampus; fornix; learning; memory; discrimination; configural; transverse patterning; spatial learning; rat
Additional Information: Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 27/02/2014).
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
ISSN: 0270-6474
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:13

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