Goal-directed responding is sensitive to lesions to the prelimbic cortex or basolateral nucleus of the amygdala but not to their disconnection

Behav Neurosci. 2009 Apr;123(2):443-8. doi: 10.1037/a0014818.


The current view of instrumental conditioning indicates that performance in the early stage of training is maintained by a representation of the outcome, as indexed by its sensitivity to changes in the value of the reward. In the present study, the authors tested the effects of a disconnection of the prelimbic cortex (PL) and the basolateral nucleus of the amygdale (BLA), using an asymmetric lesion procedure, to determine whether these structures interact sequentially as part of a corticolimbic system. In marked contrast to the effects of bilateral lesions of the PL or the BLA, which both altered rats' sensitivity to outcome devaluation, the disconnection of these 2 brain areas was without an effect on outcome devaluation. These results demonstrate that the PL and the BLA mediate different aspects of outcome representation in goal-directed responding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / injuries*
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / injuries*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology*
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Eating / physiology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / toxicity
  • Extinction, Psychological / drug effects
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Goals*
  • N-Methylaspartate / toxicity
  • Neural Pathways / injuries
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Reinforcement Schedule
  • Reward


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • N-Methylaspartate