Role of the Rodent Hippocampus in Paired-Associate Learning Involving Associations Between a Stimulus and a Spatial Location

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The ability of rats with control or hippocampal lesions to learn an object–place, odor–place, or object–odor paired-associate task was assessed in a cheeseboard maze apparatus. The data indicate that rats with hippocampal lesions were significantly impaired, compared with controls, in learning both the object–place and the odor–place paired-associate tasks. However, rats with hippocampal lesions learned the object–odor paired-associate task as readily as did controls. The data suggest that the rodent hippocampus is involved in paired-associate learning when a stimulus must be associated with a spatial location. However, the hippocampus is not involved in paired-associate learning when the association does not involve a spatial component.

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