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Department of Psychology


Publication details for Dr Anthony McGregor

Jones, P. M., Pearce, J. M., Davies, V. J., Good, M. A. & McGregor, A. (2007). Impaired processing of local geometric features during navigation in a water maze following hippocampal lesions in rats. Behavioral Neuroscience 121(6): 1258-1271.

Author(s) from Durham


Hippocampal damage impairs navigation with respect to information provided by the shape of an arena. Recent evidence has suggested that normal rats use local geometric information, as opposed to a global geometric representation, to navigate to a correct corner. One implication of this pattern of results is that hippocampal lesions may impair processing of 1 or more of the local geometric features of an environment. The authors therefore investigated the effects of hippocampal cell loss in rats on navigation to a hidden goal with respect to a variety of local cues in an environment with a distinctive shape. Rats with lesions of the hippocampus were impaired in discriminating a right-angled corner from its mirror image. However, they were able to use cues provided by an acute-angled corner (Experiment 1) or a local polarizing cue (Experiment 2). In contrast, lesioned rats were impaired in discriminating long versus short walls (Experiment 3). Results indicate that the hippocampus plays a role in disambiguating locations by processing (metric) information related to the distance between corners.