Back to publications.

European Journal of Neuroscience 12 (supplement 11): 88 (abstract 44.8).

Effects of anterior cingulate cortex lesions on responding for conditioned reinforcement, discrete fear conditioning, autoshaping performance and Pavlovian–instrumental transfer
R.N. Cardinal, G. Lachenal, J.A. Parkinson (*), T.W. Robbins, B.J. Everitt
Departments of Experimental Psychology and (*) Anatomy, University of Cambridge, UK

The anterior cingulate cortex (Ant Cing) in the rat has previously been shown to be critical for the acquisition of autoshaping, a measure of appetitive Pavlovian conditioning in which animals come to approach a stimulus (CS+) that predicts food delivery and not to approach a second stimulus (CS–) that does not. Here we demonstrate that Ant Cing lesions do not impair the acquisition of temporally discriminated approach to a CS that predicts reward (US) and is located in the same place as the US. Lesioned animals were able to respond instrumentally for this CS, now acting as a conditioned reinforcer, and the potentiation of responding by intra-accumbens amphetamine was unaffected. The Ant Cing-lesioned rats also acquired a freezing response to a discrete CS paired with footshock at the same level as controls. However, the same subjects were impaired at the acquisition of autoshaping, a task involving two stimuli distinguishable only by spatial location and located away from the source of food. A second group of Ant Cing-lesioned animals were impaired on the performance of the autoshaping task when the lesions were made after training to a criterion. These rats were tested on a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer task, in which an appetitive CS potentiates instrumental responding when it is presented non-contingently, and no impairment was found. These results suggest that the Ant Cing is critical for the normal expression of appetitive conditioning either when multiple stimuli must be discriminated, or when the CS is spatially separate from the US; further work will aim to clarify this.