Optimisation of cognitive performance in rodent operant (touchscreen) testing: Evaluation and effects of reinforcer strength

Optimisation of cognitive performance in rodent operant (touchscreen) testing: Evaluation and... Operant testing is a widely used and highly effective method of studying cognition in rodents. Performance on such tasks is sensitive to reinforcer strength. It is therefore advantageous to select effective reinforcers to minimize training times and maximize experimental throughput. To quantitatively investigate the control of behavior by different reinforcers, performance of mice was tested with either strawberry milkshake or a known powerful reinforcer, super saccharin (1.5% or 2% (w/v) saccharin/1.5% (w/v) glucose/water mixture). Mice were tested on fixed (FR)- and progressive-ratio (PR) schedules in the touchscreen-operant testing system. Under an FR schedule, both the rate of responding and number of trials completed were higher in animals responding for strawberry milkshake versus super saccharin. Under a PR schedule, mice were willing to emit similar numbers of responses for strawberry milkshake and super saccharin; however, analysis of the rate of responding revealed a significantly higher rate of responding by animals reinforced with milkshake versus super saccharin. To determine the impact of reinforcer strength on cognitive performance, strawberry milkshake and super saccharin-reinforced animals were compared on a touchscreen visual discrimination task. Animals reinforced by strawberry milkshake were significantly faster to acquire the discrimination than animals reinforced by super saccharin. Taken together, these results suggest that strawberry milkshake is superior to super saccharin for operant behavioral testing and further confirms that the application of response rate analysis to multiple ratio tasks is a highly sensitive method for the detection of behavioral differences relevant to learning and motivation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Learning & Behavior Springer Journals

Optimisation of cognitive performance in rodent operant (touchscreen) testing: Evaluation and effects of reinforcer strength

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by The Author(s)
Subject
Psychology; Psychology, general; Neurosciences
ISSN
1543-4494
eISSN
1543-4508
D.O.I.
10.3758/s13420-017-0260-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Operant testing is a widely used and highly effective method of studying cognition in rodents. Performance on such tasks is sensitive to reinforcer strength. It is therefore advantageous to select effective reinforcers to minimize training times and maximize experimental throughput. To quantitatively investigate the control of behavior by different reinforcers, performance of mice was tested with either strawberry milkshake or a known powerful reinforcer, super saccharin (1.5% or 2% (w/v) saccharin/1.5% (w/v) glucose/water mixture). Mice were tested on fixed (FR)- and progressive-ratio (PR) schedules in the touchscreen-operant testing system. Under an FR schedule, both the rate of responding and number of trials completed were higher in animals responding for strawberry milkshake versus super saccharin. Under a PR schedule, mice were willing to emit similar numbers of responses for strawberry milkshake and super saccharin; however, analysis of the rate of responding revealed a significantly higher rate of responding by animals reinforced with milkshake versus super saccharin. To determine the impact of reinforcer strength on cognitive performance, strawberry milkshake and super saccharin-reinforced animals were compared on a touchscreen visual discrimination task. Animals reinforced by strawberry milkshake were significantly faster to acquire the discrimination than animals reinforced by super saccharin. Taken together, these results suggest that strawberry milkshake is superior to super saccharin for operant behavioral testing and further confirms that the application of response rate analysis to multiple ratio tasks is a highly sensitive method for the detection of behavioral differences relevant to learning and motivation.

Journal

Learning & BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Feb 15, 2017

References

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