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The amygdala is known to be a key neural structure in many neuropsychiatric disorders. Primarily known for its involvement in fear regulation, the amygdala also plays a critical role in appetitive flexible decision making. Yet, its contribution to the development of flexible goal-directed behavior has not been thoroughly examined. The current study examined flexible decision-making abilities after neonatal amygdala lesions in nonhuman primates using a behavioral paradigm known to measure the flexible monitoring of goal-directed choices in rodents, monkeys, and humansAnimals received the lesions at 1-2 weeks and were tested at both four and six years of age on a concurrent discrimination reinforce devaluation task. Although neonatal amygdala damage spared learning stimulus-reward associations, it severely impaired the ability to flexibly shift object choices away from those items associated with devalued food rewards. The results were similar to those obtained in monkeys that had acquired the same lesions in adulthood.
Last date updated on July, 2014