Effects of limitations on the use of some visual and kinaesthetic information in spatial mapping during exploration in the rat.


  • Save Etienne
  • Granon Sylvie
  • Buhot Marie-Christine
  • Thinus-Blanc Catherine

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The purpose of this experiment was to study the effects of limiting visual and/or locomotor access to a part of the environment in the building up of a spatial representation of the whole space. During five sessions, rats were allowed to explore separately and successively the two halves (subspaces) of a circular open field containing four objects. During exploration of each half, continuous or discontinuous locomotor and/or visual access to the other half was provided by using opaque or transparent partitions, with or without doors. Once habituation was complete, the partition was removed for some subjects but remained for others. The locomotor and exploratory reactions to this removal were recorded. Whatever their locomotor experience (continuous or discontinuous), rats that had a discontinuous visual experience between the subspaces displayed a renewal of exploratory activity, whereas the rats that had received a continuous visual experience did not re-explore the objects. This result suggests that continuous visual access to the whole space is necessary for the construction of an overall representation. Furthermore, continuous locomotor activity does not seem to compensate for the discontinuity of visual information.

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