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Behav Neurosci. 2001 Oct;115(5):1012-28.

Finding your way in the dark: the retrosplenial cortex contributes to spatial memory and navigation without visual cues.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Utah, USA.


Path integration is presumed to rely on self-motion cues to identify locations in space and is subject to cumulative error. The authors tested the hypothesis that rats use memory to reduce such errors and that the retrosplenial cortex contributes to this process. Rats were trained for 1 week to hoard food in an arena after beginning a trial from a fixed starting location; probe trials were then conducted in which they began a trial from a novel place in light or darkness. After control injections, rats searched around the training location, showing normal spatial memory. Inactivation of the retrosplenial cortex disrupted this search preference. To assess accuracy during navigation, rats were then trained to perform multiple trials daily, with a fixed or a different starting location in light or darkness. Retrosplenial cortex inactivation impaired accuracy in darkness. The retrosplenial cortex may provide mnemonic information, which decreases errors when navigating in the dark.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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