The ventrolateral, agranular insular portion of prefrontal cortex (PFC) in rats is involved in visceral functions and has been shown to be involved in emotional processes. However, its contribution to aversive learning has not been well defined. Classical fear conditioning has been a powerful tool for illuminating some of the primary neural structures involved in aversive emotional learning. We measured both the acquisition and the extinction of conditioned fear following lesions of the ventrolateral PFC of rats. Lesions reduced fear reactivity to contextual stimuli associated with conditioning without affecting CS acquisition, and had no effect on response extinction. Ventrolateral PFC may normally be involved in the processing of contextual information while not being directly involved in extinction processes within the aversive domain.
- Fear conditioning
- Ventrolateral prefrontal cortex
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience