Deficits in allothetic and idiothetic spatial behavior in rats with posterior cingulate cortex lesions

Behav Brain Res. 2001 Jan 8;118(1):67-76. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(00)00312-0.


The cingulate cortex plays a central role in bridging neocortical and limbic structures involved in allothetic navigation, a form of navigation requiring the use of external cues. Animals can also navigate using idiothetic cues, which are cues generated by self-movement, but there have been no definitive tests of whether cingulate cortex also plays a role in idiothetic navigation. Rats with anterior cingulate (medial frontal) and posterior cingulate cortex (retrosplenial) suction ablations were trained to search for large food pellets on an open table, and the accuracy with which they returned home with the food was measured. In the idiothetic task they searched for food from a novel starting location under infrared light, and with surface olfactory cues displaced. The rats also received two tests of allothetic navigation. They were tested on a matching-to-place task in which they foraged for food from a number of successively presented new locations under normal room light, and they were trained to locate a hidden platform in a swimming pool (Morris place task). The group with posterior cingulate cortex lesions was severely impaired on all of the navigation tasks whereas the group with anterior cingulate cortex lesions displayed no deficit on the idiothetic task and only moderate deficits on the other tasks. The results demonstrate a role for posterior cingulate region in idiothetic navigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / pathology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Homing Behavior / physiology
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans