Orbitofrontal lesions impair use of cue-outcome associations in a devaluation task.
The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has been implicated in the use of outcome expectancies to guide behavior. The present study used a devaluation task to examine this function. Rats first received light-food pairings followed by food-toxin pairings designed to devalue the food. After either excitotoxic or sham OFC lesions, responding to the light was reassessed. Sham-lesioned rats showed reduced responding to the light relative to behavioral controls, which had received food and toxin unpaired. In contrast, OFC-lesioned rats showed no such reductions. Combined with previous data (C. L. Pickens, M. P. Saddoris, B. Setlow, M. Gallagher, P. C. Holland, & G. Schoenbaum, 2003), these results indicate that the OFC is critical for the maintenance of information about the current incentive value of reinforcers or the use of that information to guide behavior.