The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has been implicated in the use of outcome expectancies to guide behavior. The present study used a devaluation task to examine this function. Rats first received light-food pairings followed by food-toxin pairings designed to devalue the food. After either excitotoxic or sham OFC lesions, responding to the light was reassessed. Sham-lesioned rats showed reduced responding to the light relative to behavioral controls, which had received food and toxin unpaired. In contrast, OFC-lesioned rats showed no such reductions. Combined with previous data (C. L. Pickens, M. P. Saddoris, B. Setlow, M. Gallagher, P. C. Holland, & G. Schoenbaum, 2003), these results indicate that the OFC is critical for the maintenance of information about the current incentive value of reinforcers or the use of that information to guide behavior.
Copyright 2005 APA.