Dissociable Effects of Cingulate and Medial Frontal Cortex Lesions on Stimulus–Reward Learning Using a Novel Pavlovian Autoshaping Procedure for the Rat: Implications for the Neurobiology of Emotion

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Abstract

The effects of quinolinic acid-induced lesions of the anterior cingulate, posterior cingulate, and medial frontal cortices on stimulus–reward learning were investigated with a novel Pavlovian autoshaping procedure in an apparatus allowing the automated presentation of computer-graphic stimuli to rats (T. J. Bussey, J. L. Muir, & T. W. Robbins, 1994). White vertical rectangles were presented on the left or the right of a computer screen. One of these conditioned stimuli (the CS+) was always followed by the presentation of a sucrose pellet; the other, the CS−, was never followed by reward. With training, rats came to approach the CS+ more often than the CS−. Anterior cingulate cortex-lesioned rats failed to demonstrate normal discriminated approach, making significantly more approaches to the CS− than did sham-operated controls. Medial frontal cortex-lesioned rats acquired the task normally but had longer overall approach latencies. Posterior cingulate cortex lesions did not affect acquisition.

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