This experiment was designed to determine whether adding a temporal component to an object-odor association task would recruit the hippocampus. The rats were given CA1, CA3, or control lesions prior to learning the object-trace-odor task. Rats were presented with an object for 10 s, after which the object was removed, followed by a 10-s trace period, followed by the presentation of an odor 50 cm away. If the odor and the object were paired, rats were to dig in the odor cup for a reward. If unpaired, rats were to refrain from digging. Rats that had CA1 lesions were unable to make the association, whereas rats that had CA3 lesions performed as well as controls. These results support the idea that the hippocampus is involved in forming arbitrary associations that do not necessarily involve space as long as they involve a temporal component.
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