Rat hippocampus and memory for places of changing significance

J Comp Physiol Psychol. 1978 Feb;92(1):142-55. doi: 10.1037/h0077446.


Rats were tested once daily on a four-choice delayed match from sample task with a water reward. Each day the correct place changed, and a single exposure to it was provided on information trials. Lesions of the hippocampal formation that involved the fornix, or dorsal hippocampus bilaterally, produced a severe impairment in the performance of previously trained rats. By contrast, lesions of the ventral hippocampus did not preclude reacquisition of the place-memory task. Some otherwise impaired rats with fornical lesions were able to find the water when aided by nonplace cues that consistently signaled reward. Reducing the number of choices from four to two did not aid the impaired rats. Certain lesions of the hippocampal formation in the rat produce a deficit appropriately described as amnesia. The memory deficit is consistent with a role for the hippocampus in processing of place information and shows some parallels to the amnesia seen in persons with temporal lobe lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Operant
  • Cues
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Rats
  • Space Perception*
  • Touch
  • Visual Perception