Role of the medial prefrontal cortex in acquired distinctiveness and equivalence of cues

Behav Neurosci. 2007 Dec;121(6):1431-6. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.121.6.1431.


In the present study, the authors examined the role of the medial prefrontal cortex in acquired equivalence and distinctiveness of cues. Rats were placed in 4 experimental contexts (A, B, C, and D) where they received presentations of 2 auditory stimuli (X and Y). In Contexts A and B, X was paired with food and Y was not, whereas in Contexts C and D, Y was paired with food and X was not. Rats that received sham lesions and those with lesions of the medial prefrontal cortex acquired this configural discrimination equally readily. Rats then received many pellets in A but not in C. After this training, sham-lesion rats exhibited more magazine activity in B than in D (an acquired distinctiveness/acquired equivalence effect), whereas those with medial prefrontal cortex lesions did not. These results indicate that the medial prefrontal cortex is involved in the process by which experience with stimuli influences the degree of generalization between them.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology
  • Cues*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Rats