Archival Report| Volume 70, ISSUE 12, P1122-1126, December 15, 2011

Impaired Reality Testing in an Animal Model of Schizophrenia


      Schizophrenia is a chronic and devastating brain disorder characterized by hallucinations and delusions, symptoms reflecting impaired reality testing. Although animal models have captured negative symptoms and cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia, none have addressed these defining, positive symptoms.


      Here we tested the performance of adults given neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions (NVHL), a neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia, in two taste aversion procedures.


      Normal and NVHL rats formed aversions to a palatable food when the food was directly paired with nausea, but only NVHL rats formed a food aversion when the cue predicting that food was paired with nausea. The failure of NVHL rats to discriminate fully real from imagined food parallels the failure of people with schizophrenia to differentiate internal thoughts and beliefs from reality.


      These results further validate the NVHL model of schizophrenia and provide a means to assess impaired reality testing in variety of animal models.

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