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Behav Neurosci. 2007 Aug;121(4):698-706.

The effect of rat anterior cingulate inactivation on cognitive flexibility.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, 1007 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60607, USA.


The present experiment investigated the effects of muscimol injections into the rat dorsal anterior cingulate on the acquisition and reversal learning of a 4-choice odor discrimination. Long-Evans rats were trained to dig in cups that contained distinct odors. In the odor discrimination, one odor cup contained a cereal reinforcement in acquisition whereas a different odor cup contained a cereal reinforcement in reversal learning. The other 2 odor cups were never associated with reinforcement. Bilateral infusions of the gamma aminobutyric acid-A agonist muscimol did not impair acquisition of the odor discrimination but impaired reversal learning in a dose-dependent manner. During reversal learning, dorsal anterior cingulate inactivation did not lead to perseveration but selectively increased errors to the odor cups that were never reinforced. These findings suggest that the dorsal anterior cingulate supports learning when conditions require a shift in choice patterns and may enhance cognitive flexibility by decreasing interference of irrelevant stimuli.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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