Double dissociation and hierarchical organization of strategy switches and reversals in the rat PFC

Behav Neurosci. 2009 Oct;123(5):1028-35. doi: 10.1037/a0016822.


Prelimbic-infralimbic cortex (PL-IL) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) influence behavioral flexibility in the rat. The authors tested the effects of PL-IL or OFC infusion with the GABA agonist muscimol in the context of 2 flexible responding tasks: strategy switching and reversal. Muscimol infusion into PL-IL impaired retention of strategy switches but not reversals, whereas muscimol infusion into OFC impaired retention of reversals but not switches. However, whereas training in repeated reversals did not remove the requirement of PL-IL for switch retention (E. L. Rich & M. L. Shapiro, 2007), training in repeated switches did remove the requirement of OFC for reversal retention. Thus, activity during strategy switches was sufficient to initiate learning and remove the requirement of OFC in later reversals.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Frontal Lobe / drug effects*
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • GABA Agonists / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Muscimol / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Reversal Learning / drug effects*
  • Reversal Learning / physiology
  • Space Perception / drug effects
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Spatial Behavior / drug effects
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology


  • GABA Agonists
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Muscimol