Caudate nucleus and memory for egocentric localization

Behav Neural Biol. 1988 May;49(3):332-43. doi: 10.1016/s0163-1047(88)90338-x.


A large body of evidence suggests that the caudate nucleus (CN) plays a critical role in the processing of spatial localization information. Furthermore, evidence has begun to accumulate that the CN is involved in the processing of a very specific class of spatial cues, namely, egocentric cues (localization with reference to the organism). This is in contrast to allocentric localization, where an organism localizes on the basis of cues external to the organism. One would then predict that lesions to the CN should disrupt performance on any tasks that depend chiefly on egocentric spatial cues, while leaving performance on allocentric tasks intact. To test this prediction, two groups of rats were trained on two different egocentric memory tasks and two different allocentric memory tasks. Specifically, one group of rats was trained on an adjacent-arm (egocentric) and an 8-arm radial maze task (allocentric). A second group of rats was trained on a right-left discrimination (egocentric) and a place-learning task (allocentric). After training, both groups received bilateral lesions of the CN. Results showed that CN-lesioned animals were profoundly impaired on retention of the egocentric tasks. In sharp contrast to this, the same animals were not or were only transiently impaired or transiently affected on allocentric tasks. Sham-operated controls were either unimpaired or transiently affected on all tasks. These findings further support the idea that the CN plays a critical modulatory role in the processing of egocentric spatial and not allocentric spatial cues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caudate Nucleus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology*