Differential Effects of Hippocampal Ablations on Dispositional and Representational Memory in the Rat

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Long-Evans rats with electrolytic hippocampal ablations exhibited chronic impairment in performance on a spatial delayed nonmatching-to-sample task in the arms of a T-maze. The same rats exhibited only mild deficits, which disappeared with practice in dispositional memory-dependent discrimination in the stem. Both types of discrimination were learned rapidly preoperatively with no marked positive or negative interaction between types of discrimination. The present results suggest that hippocampal lesions in rats have far more serious consequences on the performance of representational memory-dependent tasks than similar lesions in monkeys. In agreement with our past studies, the present experiment demonstrated that dispositional and representational memory systems in rodents have at least partially distinct anatomical substrates in brain.

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