The present study examined why perirhinal cortex lesions in rats impair the spontaneous ability to select novel objects in preference to familiar objects, when both classes of object are presented simultaneously. The study began by repeating this standard finding, using a test of delayed object recognition memory. As expected, the perirhinal cortex lesions reduced the difference in exploration times for novel versus familiar stimuli. In contrast, the same rats with perirhinal cortex lesions appeared to perform normally when the preferential exploration of novel from familiar objects was tested sequentially, i.e., when each trial consisted of only novel or only familiar objects. In addition, there was no indication that the perirhinal cortex lesions reduced total levels of object exploration to novel objects, as would be predicted if the lesions caused novel stimuli to appear familiar. Together, the results show that in the absence of perirhinal cortex tissue, rats still receive signals of object novelty, though they may fail to link that information to the appropriate object. Consequently, these rats are impaired at discriminating the source of object novelty signals, leading to deficits on simultaneous choice tests of recognition. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
- parahippocampal cortex
- recognition memory