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ly located odor port. Next, the animal chooses odor A or odor B as being the same as the test odor by poking its nose into a choice port located to its right (odor A) or left (odor B). If the animal chooses correctly, it receives a reward (a drop of water).

As expected, many of the neurons actively signaled "I'm getting a reward" when the animal moved right or left, i.e. toward odor A or odor B.

Surprisingly, however, several of the OFC neurons signaled "I'm getting the reward to my right" whereas several others signaled "I'm getting the reward to my left."

Mainen says that one of his next steps will be to examine what happens in the brain while the animals are learning to recognize new odors. "This may or may not figure into those experiments, but we've already found that about one quarter of the rats we use are significantly below average in learning. Their motivation levels also vary quite a bit, which might be interesting to explore as well."


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Contact: Peter Sherwood
sherwood@cshl.edu
516-367-6947
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
16-Aug-2006


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