After extinction of fear to a Pavlovian conditional stimulus (CS), contextual stimuli come to regulate the expression of fear to that CS. There is growing evidence that the context dependence of memory retrieval after extinction involves the hippocampus. In the present experiment, we examine whether hippocampal involvement in memory retrieval after extinction is related to the history of CS presentations in the context used for retrieval testing. We used infusions of muscimol to inactivate the dorsal hippocampus (DH) during postextinction retrieval tests that were conducted in contexts that differed in their history of CS presentations in that context. We found that DH inactivation affected the context-dependent retrieval of extinction (i.e., renewal) when testing occurred in a context that had no history of CS exposure, but not in a context that reliably predicted the CS. These results are discussed in terms of theories regarding the role of the hippocampus in contextual memory retrieval.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience