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Forebrain lesions and retention of imprinting in domestic chicks

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Newly-hatched domestic chicks were reared separately with one of two types of imprinting object hanging in their cages. On the 5th day discrimination tests demonstrated strong preferences for the familiar object. On the 6th day the chicks were subjected to bilateral aspiration lesions of either the anterior or the lateral forebrain and their imprinting objects removed from the cages. Discrimination tests were made on the 9th and 12th days, the imprinting objects replaced, and a final relearning test given on the 14th day. The anterior lesion group was slightly impaired in the retention and relearning tests while the lateral lesion group was drastically affected, being significantly worse than the anterior group and with choices only just significantly above random expectation in the retention tests and no different from random choice in the relearning test. It was concluded that a lateral forebrain region is necessary for retention and relearning of a previously acquired imprinted preference.

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Salzen, E.A., Parker, D.M. & Williamson, A.J. Forebrain lesions and retention of imprinting in domestic chicks. Exp Brain Res 31, 107–116 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00235808

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Key words

  • Imprinting
  • Lesions
  • Retention
  • Birds