Gustatory Thalamus Lesions in the Rat: II. Aversive and Appetitive Taste Conditioning

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The learning capacities of rats with electrolytic lesions of the gustatory thalamus (GT) were investigated in 3 experiments. In Experiment 1, the presence of a taste cue failed to overshadow odor aversion learning in the lesioned rats, yet these same animals acquired normal taste and odor aversions. Thalamic lesions had no discernible effect on the acquisition of a conditioned flavor preference in Experiment 2. Finally, GT lesions completely reversed the anticipatory contrast effect shown by control subjects in Experiment 3. These results suggest that damage to the GT spares taste detection and recognition and simple associative learning but interferes with learning that involves more complex gustatory information processing.

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