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Int J Neurosci. 2006 Mar;116(3):265-80.

Vicarious trial-and-error behavior and hippocampal cytochrome oxidase activity during Y-maze discrimination learning in the rat.

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McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 02139, USA.


The present study investigated whether more vicarious trial-and-error (VTE) behavior, defined by head movement from one stimulus to another at a choice point during simultaneous discriminations, led to better visual discrimination learning in a Y-maze, and whether VTE behavior was a function of the hippocampus by measuring regional brain cytochrome oxidase (C.O.) activity, an index of neuronal metabolic activity. The results showed that the more VTEs a rat made, the better the rat learned the visual discrimination. Furthermore, both learning and VTE behavior during learning were correlated to C.O. activity in the hippocampus, suggesting that the hippocampus plays a role in VTE behavior during discrimination learning.

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