Lack of a Temporal Gradient of Retrograde Amnesia in Rats With Amygdala Lesions Assessed With the Fear-Potentiated Startle Paradigm

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It is well known that lesions of the hippocampal formation produce a temporally graded retrograde amnesia for certain types of memory. A similar pattern of results has been reported with amygdaloid lesions in avoidance learning (K. C. Liang et al., 1982). The present study examined the effects of posttraining amygdaloid lesions using a Pavlovian conditioning task, fear-potentiated startle, in which the amplitude of the acoustic startle reflex is increased when elicited in the presence of a cue (e.g., a light) previously paired with footshock. Electrolytic lesions of the amygdala given either 6 or 30 days after training blocked the expression of potentiated startle, indicating no temporal gradient of amnesia over these intervals in this test paradigm. The effects of amygdaloid lesions on different measures of aversive learning are discussed.

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