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The response strategy and the place strategy in a plus-maze have different sensitivities to devaluation of expected outcome.

Kosaki, Y and Pearce, J. M. and McGregor, A (2018) 'The response strategy and the place strategy in a plus-maze have different sensitivities to devaluation of expected outcome.', Hippocampus., 28 (7). pp. 484-496.

Abstract

Previous studies have suggested that spatial navigation can be achieved with at least two distinct learning processes, involving either cognitive map‐like representations of the local environment, referred to as the “place strategy”, or simple stimulus‐response (S‐R) associations, the “response strategy”. A similar distinction between cognitive/behavioural processes has been made in the context of non‐spatial, instrumental conditioning, with the definition of two processes concerning the sensitivity of a given behaviour to the expected value of its outcome as well as to the response‐outcome contingency (“goal‐directed action” and “S‐R habit”). Here we investigated whether these two versions of dichotomist definitions of learned behaviour, one spatial and the other non‐spatial, correspond to each other in a formal way. Specifically, we assessed the goal‐directed nature of two navigational strategies, using a combination of an outcome devaluation procedure and a spatial probe trial frequently used to dissociate the two navigational strategies. In Experiment 1, rats trained in a dual‐solution T‐maze task were subjected to an extinction probe trial from the opposite start arm, with or without prefeeding‐induced devaluation of the expected outcome. We found that a non‐significant preference for the place strategy in the non‐devalued condition was completely reversed after devaluation, such that significantly more animals displayed the use of the response strategy. The result suggests that the place strategy is sensitive to the expected value of the outcome, while the response strategy is not. In Experiment 2, rats with hippocampal lesions showed significant reliance on the response strategy, regardless of whether the expected outcome was devalued or not. The result thus offers further evidence that the response strategy conforms to the definition of an outcome‐insensitive, habitual form of instrumental behaviour. These results together attest a formal correspondence between two types of dual‐process accounts of animal learning and behaviour.

Item Type:Article
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1002/hipo.22847
Publisher statement:This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, pro-vided the original work is properly cited. © The Authors.
Date accepted:04 April 2018
Date deposited:12 April 2018
Date of first online publication:23 April 2018
Date first made open access:No date available

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