Prediction errors are central to modern learning theories. While brain regions contributing to reward prediction errors have been uncovered, the sources of aversive prediction errors remain largely unknown. Here we used probabilistic and deterministic reinforcement procedures, followed by extinction, to examine the contribution of the dorsal raphe nucleus to negative, aversive prediction errors in Pavlovian fear. Rats with dorsal raphe lesions were able to acquire fear and reduce fear to a non-reinforced deterministic cue. However, dorsal raphe lesions impaired the reduction of fear to a probabilistic cue and fear extinction to a deterministic cue, both of which involve the use of negative prediction errors. The results point to an integral role for the dorsal raphe nucleus in negative prediction error signaling in Pavlovian fear.
Keywords: conditioned suppression; learning; omission; rat.
© 2014 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.