Infoscience

Journal article

Visual input and lateralization of brain function in learning in the chick

Several lines of evidence (biochemical, neuroanatomical, electrophysiological, and behavioural) have indicated a critical role for the intermediate medial hyperstriatum ventrale of the chick forebrain in the acquisition of a passive avoidance response. Previous lesion studies indicated that bilateral or left, but not right, pretraining intermediate medial hyperstriatum ventrale lesions interfere with the acquisition of this task. We have further analysed this asymmetrical involvement of the intermediate medial hyperstriatum ventrale by use of a monocular learning protocol and intermediate medial hyperstriatum ventrale lesions (sham, bilateral, or unilateral). The results indicated that there is interocular transfer of information of passive avoidance learning between the two eye systems, with a tendency to be more successful from the right eye system to the left than in the opposite direction. As in binocular conditions, bilateral pretraining intermediate medial hyperstriatum ventrale lesions impair learning in monocularly trained animals. Unilateral lesions to either left or right monocularly trained experimental animals resulted in amnesia when they were made to the right intermediate medial hyperstriatum ventrale and the chicks were trained/tested with the left eye open. These results indicate that, although right intermediate medial hyperstriatum ventrale lesions do not result in amnesia in binocular animals, this region is capable of participating in memory acquisition processes. They also suggest a connection between lateralization of intermediate medial hyperstriatum ventrale function in passive avoidance learning and the behavioural and structural visual asymmetries known to occur in chicks.

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