Rats learn a novel foraging pattern better with their right-side whiskers than with their left-side whiskers. They also learn better with the left cerebral hemisphere than with the right hemisphere. Rotating an already learned maze relative to the external environment most strongly reduces right-whisker performance; starting an already learned maze at a different location most strongly reduces left-whisker performance. These results suggest that the right-periphery-left-hemisphere system accesses a map-like representation of the foraging problem, whereas the left-periphery-right- hemisphere system accesses a rote path. Thus, as in humans, functional asymmetries in rats can be elicited by both peripheral and cortical manipulation, and each hemisphere makes qualitatively distinct contributions to a complex natural behavior.
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