Hippocampectomy selectively disrupts discrimination reversal conditioning of the rabbit nictitating membrane response

Behav Brain Res. 1983 Apr;8(1):49-68. doi: 10.1016/0166-4328(83)90171-7.


The effects of hippocampal lesions were tested on two-tone discrimination reversal conditioning of the rabbit nictitating membrane response. Results showed that hippocampectomized animals learned the initial two-tone discrimination at rates equivalent to operated control animals and animals with neocortical lesions. During reversal conditioning, however, animals with hippocampal lesions were severely impaired relative to both other groups. Neocortical lesions were without effect on reversal learning. An additional study revealed that the hippocampectomized animals' failure at reversal could not be attributed to a lesion-induced increased resistance to extinction. Results are discussed with respect to several theories of hippocampal function, and with respect to changes in the activity of hippocampal pyramidal neurons which occur during classical conditioning of the nictitating membrane response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Conditioning, Eyelid / physiology
  • Cues
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology*
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Inhibition, Psychological / physiology
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Nictitating Membrane / physiology
  • Rabbits
  • Reversal Learning / physiology*
  • Spatial Behavior