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A role for the head-direction system in geometric learning

Vann, Seralynne Denise 2011. A role for the head-direction system in geometric learning. Behavioural Brain Research 224 (1) , pp. 201-206. 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.05.033

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Several recent models of episodic memory have highlighted a potential contribution from the head-direction system; there is, however, surprisingly little known about the behavioural effects of selective lesions within the head-direction system. To address this issue, and determine what aspects of spatial memory are dependent on the head-direction system, rats with selective lateral mammillary body lesions were tested on tasks that required the use of specific spatial cues, including direction, visual allocentric, and geometric cues. Animals were first tested on a modified version of the T-maze alternation task that enabled the systematic removal of intramaze and visual allocentric cues. Rats were next tested on a geometric task that required the use of the shape of the environment to locate a hidden platform in the water-maze. The lesion rats were impaired on one stage of the T-maze alternation task and on the acquisition of the geometric task; these results are consistent with the head-direction system contributing to the processing of, and/or subsequent use, of visual allocentric and geometric cues. From the pattern of impairments it also appears that, with training, rats with lateral mammillary body lesions are able to recruit other navigational systems or that there is some degree of redundancy within the head-direction system.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lateral mammillary nucleus; Medial diencephalon; Spatial memory; Rat
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0166-4328
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:02

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