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Color-reversal learning: Effects after lesions of thalamic visual structures in pigeons

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2009

Lin M. Chaves
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park
William Hodos
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park
Onur Güntürkün
Affiliation:
Universität Konstanz, Allgemeine Psychologie, D-7750 Konstanz, Germany

Abstract

The performance of pigeons on a color-reversal learning task was assessed after thalamic lesions disrupting the thalamofugal and tectofugal visual pathways. Successful performance of a simultaneous color discrimination was accomplished after surgery, and a series of reversals of the original discrimination followed during which the positive and negative consequences associated with the stimuli were interchanged. Shimizu and Hodos (1989) had reported that lesions of two laminae in the visual wulst (IHA and HD), both targets of the avian thalamofugal pathway, resulted in increased errors in a color-reversal learning task in pigeons. This finding suggested that the thalamofugal pathway might play a role in visual discrimination involving stimulus context changes. In the present study, lesions of the OPT complex (the thalamic source of afferents to IHA and HD) were found to have no effect on color-reversal learning performance. Instead, we found that damage to nucleus rotundus (the thalamic component of the tectofugal pathway) resulted in deficits that were far in excess of those that had been obtained after IHA and HD lesions. We suggest that the color-reversal learning deficits after Wulst lesions are not due to the Wulst's connections with the thalamofugal pathway, but rather to its connections with the tectofugal pathway.

Type
Research Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1993

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