Discourses from the Academy: The Colloquim Series Sponsored by the Department of Psychology
Assessment of Attention in Vasopressin-Deficient Brattleboro Rats
Using a Five-Choice Serial Reaction Time Task*
Presented by Michael Berquist, M.S. Candidate
Experimental Psychology, Northern Michigan University
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* Vasopressin is a neuropeptide that may influence behavioral and cognitive processes. The Brattleboro rat is a mutant variation of the Long-Evans strain that exhibits no circulating vasopressin, resulting in a physiological state analogous to diabetes insipidus. Behaviorally, Brattleboro rats exhibit diminished fear conditioning and impaired spatial memory and sensory gating. The present study sought to further evaluate the cognitive profile of rats with vasopressin deficiency by studying attention in male and female Brattleboro rats, Long Evans rats, and heterozygous rats using a five-choice serial reaction time task. Male Brattleboro rats required significantly more sessions to meet the training criteria than Long Evans and heterozygotic rats. Female Brattleboro rats displayed significantly poorer attention accuracy compared to Long Evans and heterozygotic rats. Both male and female Brattleboro rats also produced an increase in premature responses. Taken together, the present findings add to previous literature suggesting that vasopressin deficiency diminishes cognitive functioning.
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