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Eur J Neurosci. 1994 Sep 1;6(9):1466-78.

Preserved recognition memory for small sets, and impaired stimulus identification for large sets, following rhinal cortex ablations in monkeys.

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1
Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, UK.

Abstract

Seven cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) performed a series of tasks designed to assess their visual memory and their ability to identify visual stimuli. Preoperatively they were trained and tested in delayed and simultaneous matching-to-sample, both with a large stimulus set and with a small stimulus set; there were approximately 500 million possible stimuli in the large set, which effectively means that stimuli were trial-unique with this set, while in the small set there were only four stimuli, which appeared repeatedly in every session of training with the small set. Three of the monkeys then had the cortex within and adjacent to the rhinal sulcus removed bilaterally, while the other four served as an unoperated control group. Postoperatively, the animals with ablation of the rhinal cortex showed severe impairment in delayed matching-to-sample with the large set. With the large set they were also impaired, however, in matching-to-sample with no delay between sample and test (0 s delay) and in simultaneous matching-to-sample, in which the sample and the two choice patterns were simultaneously present for inspection. The impairment in simultaneous matching-to-sample was particularly clear when the task was made more difficult by reducing the physical discriminability of the trial-unique stimuli. With the small set of four stimuli, the animals with rhinal cortex ablation were not significantly impaired in overall performance level in delayed matching-to-sample, though their level was on average below that of the normal control animals. The stimulus set was then further restricted, so that there were now only two stimuli used throughout; in this condition, the animals with rhinal cortex ablation performed delayed matching-to-sample without any suggestion of impairment, showing indistinguishable performance levels from those of the control animals over a range of forgetting intervals. Subsequently, the animals were trained in trial-unique non-matching-to-sample with 0 s delay, which required reversal of the matching-to-sample rule they had previously learned; animals with rhinal cortex ablation showed a clear impairment in this rule-reversal learning. The final experimental task was a concurrent discrimination learning task in which 20 pairs of stimuli were presented once per session; the animals with rhinal cortex ablation learned more slowly than the control animals on average, but the difference between the groups did not attain statistical significance.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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