Retention of choice behavior in rats following mammillothalamic tractotomy

E. E. Krieckhaus, Edgar E. Coons, Thomas Greenspon, Jay Weiss, Richard L. Lorenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Experiment 1 mammillothalamic tract (MTT) lesions in rat produced no change in the performance of a preoperatively acquired contingent (successive) brightness discrimination motivated by hunger. Freezing, assessed in an unavoidable shock situation, and passive avoidance were also unaffected. In Experiment 2 comparable MTT lesions produced significant (p < 0.03) decrements in retention of shock avoidance behavior, yet had no effect on choice behavior once the rat started running. Thus, it appears that the effect of mammillothalamic tractotomy on avoidance behavior is not attributable to a direct increase in freezing or to a loss in the retention of the ability to make difficult discriminations per se.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1968


  • Active avoidance
  • Choice behavior
  • Freezing
  • Limbic system lesions
  • Mammillothalamic tract
  • Passive avoidance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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