Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type



Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Dr. Donald Cooper


A powerful new contextual discrimination task has recently been developed by the Cooper Laboratory in order to study the brain motivation/reward circuitry underlying reward-related behaviors. This particular go/no-go task was specifically developed with the intent to study the contributions of certain brain regions to working memory, motivation, and impulsivity. The subiculum presents itself as a pivotal brain region to study during this reward-related task because of its implication in the brain motivation/reward circuitry. For this reason, we chose to pharmacologically inactivate the dorsal and ventral subiculum using the reversible GABAA agonist, muscimol, during different stages of training in the novel go/no-go task to reveal the functional role of each region. Preliminary data that we have collected supports previous evidence for anatomically partitioned roles for the dorsal and ventral subiculum. The dorsal subiculum appears to play a role in impulsivity, whereas the role of the ventral subiculum in the go/no-go task remains unclear. Future goals for this experiment are to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the brain motivation/reward circuitry and gain insight into the maladaptive plasticity that may contribute to motivational and impulsivity disorders.