Role of the Hippocampus in Reversal Learning of the Rabbit Nictitating Membrane Response

  • Theodore W. Berger
  • William B. Orr
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 26)


The effect of hippocampal lesions on two-tone discrimination reversal of the rabbit nictitating membrane response was examined. Animals with hippocampal and neocortical damage or just neocortical damage were compared with operated controls. No differences between the three groups were seen in acquisition rates during initial discrimination learning, with all animals reaching criterion within 3–5 training sessions. The effect of hippocampal damage was apparent only during reversal learning. Hippocampal lesioned animals required more than four times as many sessions to reach reversal criterion than did either operated controls or neocortically damaged rabbits. These data show a selective effect of hippocampectomy on reversal learning, and have implications for the functional significance of hippocampal cellular plasticity which takes place during classical conditioning of the nictitating membrane response.


Classical Conditioning Reversal Learning Hippocampal Lesion Nictitate Membrane Hippocampal Damage 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore W. Berger
    • 1
  • William B. Orr
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychobiology Program Departments of Psychology and PsychiatryUniv. of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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