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J Neurosci. 2007 Jan 31;27(5):1054-62.

Selective bilateral amygdala lesions in rhesus monkeys fail to disrupt object reversal learning.

Author information

1
Section on the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Laboratory of Neuropsychology, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA. AIzquie@calstatela.edu

Abstract

Neuropsychological studies in nonhuman primates have led to the view that the amygdala plays an essential role in stimulus-reward association. The main evidence in support of this idea is that bilateral aspirative or radiofrequency lesions of the amygdala yield severe impairments on object reversal learning, a task that assesses the ability to shift choices of objects based on the presence or absence of food reward (i.e., reward contingency). The behavioral effects of different lesion techniques, however, can vary. The present study therefore evaluated the effects of selective, excitotoxic lesions of the amygdala in rhesus monkeys on object reversal learning. For comparison, we tested the same monkeys on a task known to be sensitive to amygdala damage, the reinforcer devaluation task. Contrary to previous results based on less selective lesion techniques, monkeys with complete excitotoxic amygdala lesions performed object reversal learning as quickly as controls. As predicted, however, the same operated monkeys were impaired in making object choices after devaluation of the associated food reinforcer. The results suggest two conclusions. First, the results demonstrate that the amygdala makes a selective contribution to stimulus-reward association; the amygdala is critical for guiding object choices after changes in reward value but not after changes in reward contingency. Second, the results implicate a critical contribution to object reversal learning of structures nearby the amygdala, perhaps the subjacent rhinal cortex.

PMID:
17267559
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3616-06.2007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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