The role of the dorsal periaqueductal grey in risky foraging behavior
Reilly, Melissa Ann
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Of all the behaviors a wild animal engages in on a daily basis, few are more important - or potentially more dangerous - than foraging for resources. To do so successfully, the fear system serves a modulatory role in foraging behavior. The periaqueductal gray (PAG) and has long been implicated in the generation of defensive behaviors as part of this fear system. The dorsal PAG in particular is involved in escape when a threat is imminent. In order to investigate more precisely the role of the PAG on foraging in an environment with varied levels of risk of predation, rats were subjected to PAG or SHAM lesions. Rats were then trained to venture into a foraging area to procure food pellets at various distances from the safety of their home nest, while a remote-controlled robot alligator "attacked" from the opposite end of the arena. There were few behavioral differences between SHAM and PAG-lesioned rats, suggesting that the dorsal PAG may not be the only nucleus involved in mediating these types of behaviors.
- Psychology