Self-paced 5CSRT task

Self-paced 5CSRT task

Tasks of attention and impulse control in humans have excellent rodent counterparts. 
In particular, the 5-choice serial reaction time task (5CSRTT), which is the most widely used task measuring impulsive action and attention performance, has been instrumental in defining the underlying neuroanatomy, neurochemistry and genes pertaining to these cognitive functions.

In the 5CSRTT, mice are required to respond to a brief light stimulus in one of five response apertures. The number of premature responses before the stimulus light switches on is a measure of impulsivity. Omissions of responding, accuracy of responding and the intra-individual variability in response latencies are measures of attention.

We developed a novel 5-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT), without scheduled food deprivation and with little animal handling1. Mice are allowed 24-h/day task access from their home-cage, during which they can self-pace task progression and earn unlimited food rewards depending on task performance.  of task parameters in this self-paced 5-CSRTT protocol (SP-5C) affected attentional performance and impulsivity to a similar extent as previously observed in the 5-CSRTT. Task activity follows intrinsic circadian rhythm, distinctive for the SP-5C protocol, with task performance stable over the day. The sensitivity of the SP-5C protocol to detect strain differences between C57BL/6J, DBA/2 J, BXD16 and BXD62 mice was demonstrated as well as its suitability for testing adolescent mice. Acute administration of the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist scopolamine impaired attentional performance, providing initial pharmacological validation of the task.

The SP-5C substantially shortens the assessment of impulsivity and attention, increases test efficiency and enables the assessment of adolescent mouse models of psychiatric disorders.

1 A one-week 5-choice serial reaction time task to measure impulsivity and attention in adult and adolescent mice. Remmelink  et al., Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 15;7:42519