Direction discrimination learning in normal and visually deprived cats and the effects of lateral suprasylvian lesions
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We used 5 binocularly deprived cats (BD cats), 4 control cats reared also in the laboratory (C cats) and 4 cats reared in a normal environment (N cats). The cats were trained to discriminate an upward or downward-moving light spot versus a stationary spot (detection task) and then an upward versus a downward spot (direction task). The N and C cats learned slowly. The learning was slower than in previously studied discriminations of stationary stimuli. However, all N and C cats mastered the detection task and except one C cat the direction task. In contrast, 4 BD cats failed in the detection task and all in the direction task. This result is consistent with single-cell recording data showing impairment of direction analysis in the visual system in BD cats. After completing the training the upper part of the middle suprasylvian sulcus was removed unilaterally in 7 cats and bilaterally in 6 cats. Surprisingly, the unilateral lesions were more effective: the clear-cut retention deficits were found in 5 cats lesioned unilaterally, whereas only in one cat lesioned bilaterally.
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K.Burnat, Department of Neurophysiology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, 3 Pasteur St., 02-093 Warsaw, Poland