Ventrolateral Prefrontal Cortex Lesions in Rats Impair the Acquisition and Retention of a Tactile–Olfactory Configural Task

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Rats with aspirative lesions of the ventrolateral frontal cortex were tested on acquisition and postsurgical retention of an associative learning task that required that they learn a tactile–olfactory configural discrimination. The task required that they pull up a string to obtain attached food and that they identify the correct string using a compound of string size and odor. The rats were not impaired in initial learning or reversal of the olfactory elements of the discrimination. They were impaired in acquisition and retention of the compound, and their deficit was proportional to lesion size. The results confirm that the ventrolateral frontal cortex is involved in processing of olfactory information and imply that the prefrontal cortex is involved in at least certain types of cross-modal configural associative learning.

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