This work examines the influence of contextual manipulations on radial maze performance in fornix-damaged and control rats by presenting the task in two differentiated contexts—limited versus extensive cuing—that were successively inverted. With limited cuing, fornix-damaged rats perform worse than controls. Extensive cuing counteracts performance deficits in lesioned rats but impairs performance in controls. Inverting the contexts always disturbs performance in lesioned rats, whereas only shifting from limited to extensive cuing affects performance in controls. These results indicate that spatial learning performance of both lesioned and control rats is controlled by background stimuli, but in an opposite way.
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