Dorsal hippocampal lesions impair appetitive classical conditioning to localized cues


: Dr Charlotte Bonardi, as above.,


Three experiments examined appetitive classical conditioning in rats with small electrolytic lesions of the dorsal hippocampus. In all the experiments, the reinforcer was food delivery and the conditioned response (CR) entry to the food tray; the three experiments differed in the nature of the conditioned stimulus (CS). When this was a small light located inside the food tray, conditioning was impaired in lesioned animals, but when the CS was a general increase in illumination, they learned at the same rate as controls. With a white noise as the CS, learning was significantly faster in lesioned subjects. These data demonstrate that lesions of the dorsal hippocampus can produce impairments in appetitive delay conditioning, but only with certain types of CS. It is suggested that deficits are found with CSs that are localized in space.