Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
There is evidence that the infralimbic cortex (IL) may play a role in mediating interference between conflicting associations learned during acquisition and extinction. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of the IL in AAB renewal, a learning procedure in which a lever-press response is reinforced in context A (acquisition), extinguished in the same context (the response no longer produces a reinforcer), and then tested in both context A and a new context, context B. I hypothesized that temporarily inactivating the IL would impair the expression of extinction in the extinction context and the expression of renewal in a new context. To test this hypothesis, rats were first trained to lever press for a food reward in context A, followed by extinction in the same context. After pharmacological inactivation of the IL, this lever press response was tested in context A and a new context, context B. During the test, there was a trend for IL inactivated rats to display higher levels of responding in the extinction context and lower levels in the new context as compared to control rats, who showed a trend towards an AAB renewal effect. While the results were not statistically significant, likely due to small sample size, the trend of the results aligns with the original hypothesis. These results suggest that the IL may play a role in controlling interference between competing associations when choosing how to respond in a new context.
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Whittaker, Mia Lauren, "The Role of the Infralimbic Cortex in Context-Dependent Instrumental Responding" (2022). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 505.
Available for download on Wednesday, May 10, 2023