Author(s): Mlkov L, Gaffan D, Murray EA
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Aspiration lesions of the amygdala were found previously to produce a severe impairment in visual discrimination learning for auditory secondary reinforcement in rhesus monkeys (Gaffan and Harrison, 1987). To determine whether excitotoxic amygdala lesions would also produce this effect, we trained four naive rhesus monkeys on the same task. The monkeys were required to learn 40 new visual discrimination problems per session in a situation in which visual choices were guided by an auditory secondary reinforcer that had been previously associated with food reward. Bilateral excitotoxic lesions of the amygdala had no effect on the rate of learning visual discrimination problems for auditory secondary reinforcement. We also tested the amygdalectomized monkeys on a reinforcer devaluation task and compared their performance with a group of three normal monkeys. The monkeys first learned to discriminate 60 pairs of objects, baited with two different food rewards. Each of the food rewards was then devalued by selective satiation in two separate experimental sessions. Normal controls tended to avoid displacing objects that covered the devalued food to a significantly greater degree than did the amygdalectomized monkeys, indicating that the excitotoxic amygdala damage interfered with reinforcer devaluation effects. Our results are consistent with the idea that the amygdala is necessary for learning the association between stimuli and the value of particular food rewards; however, the amygdala is not necessary for maintaining the value of secondary reinforcers, once they have been learned.
This article was published in J Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy