Prior experiments, as well as computational models, have implicated the hippocampal region in mediating the influence of nonreinforced stimulus preexposure on subsequent learning. Learned irrelevance (LIRR) is a preexposure task in which uncorrelated preexposures to the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the unconditioned stimulus (US) produce a retardation of subsequent CS-US conditioning. In the work presented here, we report the results of tests of LIRR in eyeblink conditioning in rabbits with sham lesions, nonselective cortical-hippocampal region lesions, selective hippocampal lesions, and selective entorhinal lesions. Sham-lesioned rabbits that had been preexposed to the CS and the US exhibited slower acquisition of conditioned responses, as compared with context-preexposed controls. Nonselective cortical-hippocampal region lesions disrupted LIRR, whereas selective hippocampal lesions had no detrimental effect on LIRR. Selective entorhinal lesions disrupted LIRR. These findings fit other recent empirical findings and theoretical predictions that some classical conditioning tasks previously thought to depend on the hippocampus depend, rather, on the entorhinal cortex.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience