The effects of rostral anterior cingulate lesions on avoidance and decision-making processes in rats living in a naturalistic, risky foraging environment
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In rodents, the rostral segment of the anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) is thought to be primarily involved in affect-related processes and behaviors. However, most rodent studies investigating the rACC measure a limited set of variables over brief periods, possibly providing only a partial picture of its hypothesized functions. The present study employed a longitudinal, ethologically relevant risky-foraging paradigm to further elucidate the rACC’s role in affect-related behavior, and in decision-making under adverse conditions. Rats lived in novel chambers consisting of a safe nest zone and “risky” foraging zone where unpredictable foot shocks can be delivered for an extended period of time. Lesions of the rACC had little effect on avoidance of foot shock, but interfered with initial threat-induced foraging suppression. The results of this experiment conflict with findings showing that rACC lesions disrupt avoidance acquisition and decrease the amount of effort animals are willing to exert for food reward.
- Psychology