Project Details


Odor-guided tasks provide a valuable means of investigating basic
principles of learning and memory in the rat. However, an olfactory task
in which performance depends critically upon an encoding of the
associations among stimuli remains to be developed. The current proposal
focuses on the development of an odor-guided task in which performance
depends upon learning the association between an odor and a specific
spatial location. Preliminary training procedures will involve pairing an
odor and reinforcement in one of two goal arms, and a different odor and
reinforcement in the other goal arm. During testing, rats will be
presented with one of the two odors in a start box, and reinforced for
entering the goal arm with which that odor had previously been paired. The
initial study will involve pilot investigations designed to optimize task
parameters. A subsequent study will examine the extent to which
performance in this task reflects acquisition of the association between
an odorant and a specific spatial location by re-arranging the spatial
cues surrounding the apparatus. The final behavioral experiment will
examine whether rats are capable of forming odor-place "learning sets".
Neuropsychological studies are also proposed to examine the effects of
aspiration of entorhinal cortex on acquisition and retention of odor-place
associations. Development of this task will not only contribute to our
current understanding of olfactory associative learning in the rat, but
additionally will provide a paradigm suitable for investigating the neural
bases of mammalian associative memory.
Effective start/end date12/1/9411/30/95


  • National Institute of Mental Health


  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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