Lesions of the basolateral amygdala disrupt conditioning based on the retrieved representations of motivationally significant events

J Neurosci. 2006 Aug 9;26(32):8305-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1647-06.2006.


One recent perspective (Blundell et al., 2001; 2003; Killcross and Blundell, 2002; Balleine et al. 2003) on the function of the basolateral region of the amygdala (BLA) suggests that it plays an important role in the representation of the sensory features of motivationally significant events. This predicts that lesions of the BLA will not produce a decrement in performance in conditioning procedures based on the formation of associations between the sensory aspects of neutral events but will interfere with conditioning based on associations between neutral cues and motivationally significant events. This prediction is supported by the evidence that BLA lesions were without effect on a sensory preconditioning procedure (experiment 1A) that used neutral cues but that BLA lesions did significantly impair representation-mediated conditioning (experiment 1B) when the target cues were motivationally significant at the time of training. These results demonstrate that animals with lesions of the BLA can represent the sensory aspects of neutral events but not the sensory aspects of motivationally significant events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Motivation*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Task Performance and Analysis