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Hippocampal lesions can enhance discrimination learning despite normal sensitivity to incidental information.

Sanderson, D.J. and Rawlins, J.N.P. and Deacon, R.M.J. and Cunningham, C. and Barkus, C. and Bannerman, D.M. (2012) 'Hippocampal lesions can enhance discrimination learning despite normal sensitivity to incidental information.', Hippocampus., 22 (7). pp. 1553-1566.


Spatial properties of stimuli are sometimes encoded even when incidental to the demands of a particular learning task. Incidental encoding of spatial information may interfere with learning by (i) causing a failure to generalize learning between trials in which a cue is presented in different spatial locations and (ii) adding common spatial features to stimuli that predict different outcomes. Hippocampal lesions have been found to facilitate acquisition of certain tasks. This facilitation may occur because hippocampal lesions impair incidental encoding of spatial information that interferes with learning. To test this prediction mice with lesions of the hippocampus were trained on appetitive simple simultaneous discrimination tasks using inserts in the goal arms of a T-maze. It was found that hippocampal lesioned mice were facilitated at learning the discriminations, but they were sensitive to changes in spatial information in a manner that was similar to control mice. In a second experiment it was found that both control and hippocampal lesioned mice showed equivalent incidental encoding of egocentric spatial properties of the inserts, but both groups did not encode the allocentric information. These results demonstrate that mice show incidental encoding of egocentric spatial information that decreases the ability to solve simultaneous discrimination tasks. The normal egocentric spatial encoding in hippocampal lesioned mice contradicts theories of hippocampal function that suggest that the hippocampus is necessary for incidental learning per se, or is required for modulating stimulus representations based on the relevancy of information. The facilitated learning suggests that the hippocampal lesions can enhance learning of the same qualitative information as acquired by control mice.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Spatial learning, Memory, Mouse, Lesion, Conjunctive representations.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:July 2012
Date first made open access:No date available

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