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Dorsal hippocampal involvement in conditioned-response timing and maintenance of temporal information in the absence of the CS

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Abstract

Involvement of the dorsal hippocampus (DHPC) in conditioned-response timing and maintaining temporal information across time gaps was examined in an appetitive Pavlovian conditioning task, in which rats with sham and DHPC lesions were first conditioned to a 15-s visual cue. After acquisition, the subjects received a series of non-reinforced test trials, on which the visual cue was extended (45 s) and gaps of different duration, 0.5, 2.5, and 7.5 s, interrupted the early portion of the cue. Dorsal hippocampal-lesioned subjects underestimated the target duration of 15 s and showed broader response distributions than the control subjects on the no-gap trials in the first few blocks of test, but the accuracy and precision of their timing reached the level of that of the control subjects by the last block. On the gap trials, the DHPC-lesioned subjects showed greater rightward shifts in response distributions than the control subjects. We discussed these lesion effects in terms of temporal versus non-temporal processing (response inhibition, generalisation decrement, and inhibitory conditioning).

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Notes

  1. Another view, suggested by the reviewer, is that DHPC lesions increase the probability of resetting after gaps. For example, this could be due to a deficit in attention: the lesioned subjects might be more likely to distribute their attentional resources to the background context as soon as the CS was terminated, and thus when the CS re-appeared, they had a higher probability of restarting response timing from 0 s; when the data were averaged across individual trials as in the present study, it would result in an overall rightward shift in response distribution.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (United Kingdom) grant, BB/F013191/1, awarded to DJJ and CB. It was presented by SKET at the 14th Associative Learning Symposium (Gregynog, United Kingdom) and 21st Congress of Spanish Society for Comparative Psychology International Meeting (Salamanca, Spain). The authors thank Tobias Bast and an anonymous reviewer for comments on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Shu K. E. Tam.

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Tam, S.K.E., Jennings, D.J. & Bonardi, C. Dorsal hippocampal involvement in conditioned-response timing and maintenance of temporal information in the absence of the CS. Exp Brain Res 227, 547–559 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-013-3530-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-013-3530-4

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