Trigeminal denervation and operant behavior in the rat


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Abstract

39 male Wistar rats underwent selective sectioning of trigeminal sensory and motor nerves in 2 experiments to examine the contribution of the sensorimotor system to the control of instrumental responses reinforced with food or water. It was hypothesized that trigeminal denervation would disrupt motivational systems mediating Ss' thirst and hunger. Results show that unilateral sectioning of either Section V sensory or V motor nerves had no significant effect on leverpressing. Bilateral sectioning significantly reduced leverpressing, and the deficit was greatest in Ss with trigeminal motor nerve sectioning. It is concluded that trigeminal orosensory or oromotor denervation disrupts performance on a food- or water-reinforced task in which execution does not require a trigeminally mediated response. Findings are discussed in terms of motivational and reinforcement accounts of instrumental learning. (32 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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