Choice behavior of fornix-damaged rats in radial maze error-free situations and subsequent learning

Martine Ammassari-Teule, Catherine Maho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fornix-damaged, sham-operated, and control rats were placed in a radial eight-arm maze for fixed series of runs with either a 0% or a 100% reinforcement schedule in order to study their choice behavior independently from any learning problem. Subsequently, the ability to learn the radial maze task was examined as a function of the exploratory patterns developed in each error-free situation. The results showed that the continuous absence or presence of food in the radial maze induced two distinct models of exploration in sham-operated and control rats: choice alternation in the absence of food and perseveration in the presence of food. Conversely, this dichotomy did not occur in fornix-damaged rats that run approximately the same number of paths in both error-free situations, but made fewer different path choices in the 0% reinforcement condition and more different path choices in the 100% reinforcement condition than controls. When submitted to the radial maze task, a positive transfer was observed in all groups from the error-free situation in which the rats run more different paths: from the 0% reinforcement situation for controls and from the 100% reinforcement situation for the lesioned rats. These data indicate that damaging the septo-hippocampal pathway modifies spontaneous choice behavior through a different response to specific reinforcement programs but does not prevent the memorization and the transfer of information from error-free to learning situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-567
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Choice behavior
  • Fornix damage
  • Spatial learning
  • Transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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