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Exp Brain Res. 1988;73(3):595-605.

Behavior evoked by electrical stimulation of the hamster superior colliculus.

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Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark 19716.


Syrian golden hamsters were implanted with fixed or moveable stimulating electrodes aimed at the superior colliculus (SC). Behavior was observed in response to trains of 0.1 ms pulses at 200 Hz while the animals were moving freely in an open arena or in their home cages. At threshold stimulating currents, the responses consisted almost entirely of freezing or contraversive turning, which occurred in two forms: fast turns, resembling orienting movements to sunflower seeds, and slow turns that were smooth and continuous. Other responses, including head raising and lowering, ipsiversive turning and backing movements were seen occasionally. Increasing the stimulating current usually gave a variety of responses, including circling movements, prolonged freezing, ipsilateral movements and running escape behavior. The sites in SC giving freezes at threshold tended to be located superficially (SO and above), or deep (SGP and below), while sites giving turns were in the intermediate layers. Most freeze sites occurred in the rostro-medial SC that represents the upper visual field, while turn sites occurred predominantly in caudo-lateral SC. Apart from the turns, most of the stimulated responses resembled natural defensive behavior, supporting the view that SC in rodents plays a role in organizing responses to predators, as well as in orienting behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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