SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • conditioned reinforcement;
  • incentive learning;
  • nucleus accumbens;
  • rat

Abstract

Rats with bilateral lesions of the ventral striatal nucleus accumbens failed to acquire Pavlovian second-order conditioning to auditory stimuli paired with visual stimuli that had previously received first-order pairings with food. This deficit in second-order conditioning was specific to learning driven by incentive properties of the first-order cues, and was observed whether the first-order training had occurred prior to or after lesion surgery. Lesions also produced deficits in the display of conditioned responses to the first-order conditioned stimulus, but only when they were made after first-order training. These results suggest a specific role for the ventral striatum in acquiring and expressing incentive properties of conditioned stimuli through second-order conditioning, as well as a more general role in expressing previously acquired Pavlovian conditioned responses.