Basolateral amygdala encodes upcoming errors but not response conflict

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Adaptive behavior depends on the detection of potential errors so that ongoing behavior might be corrected. Here, we ask whether basolateral amygdala (ABL) might serve this function by examining activity in rats performing a task in which errors were induced by pitting two behavioral responses against each other. This response competition or conflict was created by forcing rats to respond away from the direction in which they were freely choosing on the majority of trials. Rats were slower and less accurate on these incongruent trial types. We found that activity in ABL fired more strongly prior to errant responses, but did not signal the potential for errors on correctly performed incongruent trials. These data support a role for ABL in processing errors prior to their occurrence and suggest that ABL is not involved in monitoring conflict so that ongoing behavior might be corrected.

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