Effects of medial septal lesions on an operant go/no-go delayed response alternation task in rats

Robert Numan, Michael P. Feloney, Kelly H. Pham, Lisa M. Tieber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Previous work in our laboratory has found that whereas medial septal lesions impaired an operant left-right delayed alternation task in rats, the lesion also facilitated the performance of rats on a cued go/no-go discrimination task with a delay between the cue and the required response. These findings suggested to us that the medial septal lesions impaired "response" working memory, which in turn led to a compensatory enhancement of attention to stimulus cues. If this hypothesis is true, then the lesions should impair a go/no-go task based on "response" working memory. The current experiment tested this hypothesis. Rats (12 with medial septal lesions and 12 with sham operations) were tested on a discrete trial operant go/no-go response alternation task. The rats were first tested for 20 days without a delay contingency, followed by 35 days of testing with a 15-s delay between "go" and "no-go" trials. Both groups became proficient at the task under nondelay conditions and their terminal performance (averaging about 85% correct) did not differ. However, under delay conditions the performance of the lesioned rats was significantly impaired compared to the controls. As the go/no-go task does not require a spatial discrimination, the best explanation for our findings is that the lesions impaired response working memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1263-1271
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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