Selective facilitative effect of post-trial reticular stimulation in discriminative learning in the rat

  • Deweer B
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Ninety-eight Sprague-Dawley rats, implanted with electrodes in the mesencephalic tegmentum (reticular activating system, RAS) served as subjects in two experiments. In the first experiment (n = 42) we investigated the effects of a RAS stimulation (5 ?? A, 300 Hz, 90 sec in duration) on the acquisition of a positively reinforced light-dark discrimination in a T-maze. In the second experiment (n = 56) the reinforcement and the treatment were dissociated by comparing the effects of the RAS stimulation administered after correct or incorrect choices, during the same discrimination task. In the two experiments, despite large differences in learning conditions, the results show a considerable learning facilitation by administering the RAS stimulation immediately after each trial. This facilitation does not seem to be due to an interaction between reinforcement and stimulation, since the results of experiment 2 show the maximum facilitation in animals stimulated after each (non-reinforced) error, compared to subjects stimulated after each (reinforced) correct choice. These results are discussed both in terms of consolidation processes and in terms of comparison of the cue values of S+ and S- in a discriminative learning situation. ?? 1976.

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  • B. Deweer

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