The role of ventral and orbital prefrontal cortex in conditional visuomotor learning and strategy use in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

Behav Neurosci. 2001 Oct;115(5):971-82. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.115.5.971.


Four rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were trained to learn novel sets of visuomotor associations in 50 trials or less, within single test sessions. After bilateral ablation of the orbital and ventral prefrontal cortex, the monkeys lost the ability to learn these associations within a session, although they could learn them when given several daily sessions. Thus, relatively slow, across-session visuomotor learning depends on neither the ventral nor orbital prefrontal cortex, but rapid, within-session learning does. The ablations also eliminated at least 2 response strategies, repeat-stay and lose-shift, which might account, in part, for the deficit in rapid learning. The deficit is unlikely to result from a failure of visual discriminative ability or working memory: The monkeys could discriminate similar stimulus material within a session, and reducing the working memory load did not improve within-session learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Problem Solving / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*