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Behav Neurosci. 2007 Oct;121(5):896-906.

Differential involvement of the basolateral amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, and nucleus accumbens core in the acquisition and use of reward expectancies.

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Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, NY, USA.


In this study, the authors tested the hypothesis that the basolateral amygdala (BLA), orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), nucleus accumbens core (NA-core), and the extended hippocampus mediate different aspects of the development-maintenance of unique reward expectancies produced by the differential outcomes procedure (DOP). Rats were trained with either DOP or a nondifferential outcomes procedure (NOP) on a simple discrimination task. Fornix lesions did not affect either version of the task, demonstrating that the extended hippocampal system has no role in stimulus-outcome (S-O) associations. In contrast, in the DOP condition, BLA lesions impaired performance throughout training, OFC lesions impaired choice accuracy only in the later maintenance phase, and NA-core lesions resulted in enhanced learning. These results suggest that BLA and OFC are important for establishment (BLA) and behavioral maintenance (OFC) of S-O associations, whereas the NA-core is not needed and can in fact impede using multiple S-O associations. No impairments were observed in the NOP condition, demonstrating that these structures are not critical to stimulus-response learning.

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