Perseverative interference with object-in-place scene learning in rhesus monkeys with bilateral ablation of ventrolateral prefrontal cortex.
Baxter MG., Browning PGF., Mitchell AS.
Surgical disconnection of the frontal cortex and inferotemporal cortex severely impairs many aspects of visual learning and memory, including learning of new object-in-place scene memory problems, a monkey model of episodic memory. As part of a study of specialization within prefrontal cortex in visual learning and memory, we tested monkeys with bilateral ablations of ventrolateral prefrontal cortex in object-in-place scene learning. These monkeys were mildly impaired in scene learning relative to their own preoperative performance, similar in severity to that of monkeys with bilateral ablation of orbital prefrontal cortex. An analysis of response types showed that the monkeys with lesions were specifically impaired in responding to negative feedback during learning: The post-operative increase in errors was limited to trials in which the first response to each new problem, made on the basis of trial and error, was incorrect. This perseverative pattern of deficit was not observed in the same analysis of response types in monkeys with bilateral ablations of the orbital prefrontal cortex, who were equally impaired on trials with correct and incorrect first responses. This may represent a specific signature of ventrolateral prefrontal involvement in episodic learning and memory.