Learning power of single behavioral units in acquisition of a complex spatial behavior: an observational learning study in cerebellar-lesioned rats

Behav Neurosci. 2002 Feb;116(1):116-25.


By combining an observational spatial learning paradigm with a cerebellar lesion that blocks the acquisition of new spatial strategies, it is possible to separate a complex spatial behavior into its fundamental units to study which relationships among units have to be maintained so that the entire behavior might be acquired. Normal rats were first allowed to observe demonstrator rats performing single explorative behaviors (circling, extended searching, direct finding), then were hemicerebellectomized and, finally, tested in the Morris water maze. In spite of the cerebellar lesion, the observer rats displayed exploration abilities that closely matched the previously observed behaviors. These results indicate that the single facets that form the strategy repertoire can be independently acquired.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Problem Solving / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Social Environment