Visual sampling after lesions of the superior colliculus in rats. Academic Article uri icon


  • In two separate experiments, rats with bilateral lesions of the superior colliculus showed significantly poorer relearning of a horizontal/vertical stripe discrimination than control animals. In Experiment 1, all animals showed disruption of performance when a stimulus--response (S--R) separation was introduced by raising the stimuli above the site of responding. However, the colliculectomized rats were much more disturbed by the S--R separation than were animals in the control group. In Experiment 2, all animals showed lower performance levels when conflicting patterns were introduced into the upper portion of the stimulus doors, but this time the rats with collicular lesions were less disturbed than the control animals. It is suggested (a) that when the stimulus and response sites are discontiguous, animals must make an appropriate orienting response in order to effectively sample the visual stimuli and (b) that lesions of the superior colliculus alter performance by interfering with this orienting behavior. The impairment in relearning is tentatively attributed to the absence of preoperative overtraining on the discrimination task.

publication date

  • December 1, 1979