A role for dorsal and ventral hippocampus in inter-temporal choice cost-benefit decision making.
McHugh SB., Campbell TG., Taylor AM., Rawlins JN., Bannerman DM.
Previous studies suggest a preferential role for dorsal hippocampus (dHPC) in spatial memory tasks, whereas ventral hippocampus (vHPC) has been implicated in aspects of fear and/or anxiety. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that vHPC may be a critical subregion for performance on a delay-based, cost-benefit decision making task. Rats chose between the two goal arms of a T maze, one containing an immediately available small reward, the other containing a larger reward that was only accessible after a delay. dHPC, vHPC, and complete hippocampal (cHPC) lesions all reduced choice of the delayed high reward (HR) in favor of the immediately available low reward (LR). The deficits were not due to a complete inability to remember which reward size was associated with which arm of the maze. When an equivalent 10-s delay was introduced in both goal arms, all rats chose the HR arm on nearly all trials. The deficit was, however, reinstated when the inequality was reintroduced. Our results suggest an important role for both dHPC and vHPC in the extended neural circuitry that underlies intertemporal choice.