Memory of Radial Maze Behavior in Pigeons After Ablations of the Presumed Equivalent of Mammalian Prefrontal Cortex

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Abstract

Pigeons were trained and postoperatively tested in an 8-arm radial maze in which 1 arm was always used for start, 3 were never baited, and 4 were always baited. Of 2 groups of pigeons, 1 (n = 6) received ablations of the postero-dorso-lateral neostriatum (PDLNS) as well as the corticoid, and the other (n = 8) was sham operated. After the surgery, in the PDLNS group the number of reference memory errors (entering the never-baited arms) was significantly increased, but the number of working memory errors (entering previously visited baited arms) was not. Two of 6 pigeons with PDLNS ablations did not show any impairment, 3 were impaired in the reference memory, and 1 was impaired in working memory. This outcome resembles behavioral effects obtained in rats with prefrontal lesions. In pigeons and rats, the lesion seems to “release” the normal “win–shift” tendency and/or impair the ability to choose correctly in simultaneous multiple-choice situations.

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