The role of cues and the hippocampus in home base behaviour

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Hines, Dustin J.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Arts and Science, 2004
The thesis examines the ability of animals to construct a home base. The home base is a point in space where animals rear, groom, and circle and is a primary element in organized spatial behaviour (Eilam and Golani 1989). Once animals establish a home base, they make outward trips and stops, and after a series of trips and stops they return again to the home base. The home base behaviour of animals acts as a platform for asking questions about the cognitive organization of an environment. The thesis describes five main findings. Control and hippocampectomized animals use (1) proximal and (2) distal cues to form a home base and organize their behaviour. (3) Control and olfactory bulbectomized animals form home bases in the dark where as hippocampectomized animals are impaired suggesting self-movement but not olfactory cues play a role in home base behaviour. A final set of experiments demonstrated that control and hippocampectomized animals learn the position of (4) proximal and (5) distal cues so that in the cue's absence, animals still form a home base at that position. The demonstration that a central feature of exploratory behaviour, establishing a home base, is preserved in hippocampectomized rats in relation to proximal, distal, and conditioned visual cues - reveals that exploratory behaviour remains organized after hippocampal lesions. The inability of hippocampectomized rats to form a virtual home base in the absence of visual cues is discussed in relation to the idea that the hippocampus contributes to inertial behaviour that may be dependent upon self-movement cues.
xv, 232 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Dissertations, Academic , Territoriality (Zoology) -- Research , Spatial behavior in animals -- Research , Hippocampus (Brain) -- Physiology -- Research , Rats as laboratory animals