Dissociable contributions of the orbitofrontal and lateral prefrontal cortex of the marmoset to performance on a detour reaching task


: Dr Angela C. Roberts, as above.
E-mail: acr4@cus.cam.ac.uk


To gain insight into the nature and neural specificity of the relationship between simple problem solving, inhibitory control and prefrontal cortex, comparison of the effects of excitotoxic lesions of the orbitofrontal and lateral prefrontal cortex were examined on the performance of common marmosets on a detour reaching task. Monkeys were required to inhibit reaching directly for food reward in a transparent box and instead make a detour reach around to the side of the box either having had (i) no prior experience on the task (experiment 1) or (ii) previous experience in reaching around the sides of an opaque box (experiment 2). Whilst monkeys with orbitofrontal lesions had difficulty in inhibiting direct reaches to visible food reward (experiment 1), they could resist this prepotent response tendency following extensive prior experience of detour reaching with an opaque box (experiment 2). In marked contrast, monkeys with lateral prefrontal lesions exhibited no difficulty in inhibiting reaching to visible food reward or acquiring detour reaching per se (experiment 1). However, having been given the opportunity to acquire an efficient detour reaching strategy to hidden food reward these lateral prefrontal lesioned monkeys were impaired at transferring this strategy to the new context in which the food reward was made visible (experiment 2). This double dissociation between the effects of orbitofrontal and lateral prefrontal lesions on detour reaching provides evidence for a clear distinction in the level of control over responding exerted by the orbitofrontal and lateral prefrontal cortex, consistent with hierarchical ordering of response control processes within prefrontal cortex.