Differential effects of social and novelty enrichment on individual differences in impulsivity and behavioral flexibility.
ABSTRACT: Early life experience profoundly impacts behavior and cognitive functions in rats. The present study investigated how the presence of conspecifics and/or novel objects, could independently influence individual differences in impulsivity and behavioral flexibility. Twenty-four rats were reared in an isolated condition, an isolated condition with a novel object, a pair-housed social condition, or a pair-housed social condition with a novel object. The rats were then tested on an impulsive choice task, a behavioral flexibility task, and an impulsive action task. Novelty enrichment produced an overall increase in impulsive choice, while social enrichment decreased impulsive choice in the absence of novelty enrichment and also produced an overall increase in impulsive action. In the behavioral flexibility task, social enrichment increased regressive errors, whereas both social and novelty enrichment reduced never-reinforced errors. Individual differences analyses indicated a significant relationship between performance in the behavioral flexibility and impulsive action tasks, which may reflect a common psychological correlate of action inhibition. Moreover, there was a relationship between delay sensitivity in the impulsive choice task and performance on the DRL and behavioral flexibility tasks, suggesting a dual role for timing and inhibitory processes in driving the interrelationship between these tasks. Overall, these results indicate that social and novelty enrichment produce distinct effects on impulsivity and adaptability, suggesting the need to parse out the different elements of enrichment in future studies. Further research is warranted to better understand how individual differences in sensitivity to enrichment affect individuals' interactions with and the resulting consequences of the rearing environment.
Project description:Novelty seeking has been tied to impulsive choice and biased value based choice. It has been postulated that novel stimuli should trigger more vigorous approach and exploration. However, it is unclear whether stimulus novelty can enhance simple motor actions in the absence of explicit reward, a necessary condition for energizing approach and exploration in an entirely unfamiliar situation. In this study human subjects were cued to omit or perform actions in form of button presses by novel or familiar images. We found that subjects' motor actions were faster when cued by a novel compared to a familiar image. This facilitation by novelty was strongest when the delay between cue and action was short, consistent with a link between novelty and impulsive choices. The facilitation of reaction times by novelty was correlated across subjects with trait novelty seeking as measured in the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire. However, this li between high novelty-seeking and action facilitation was driven by trials with a long delay between cue and action. This prolonged time window of energization following novelty could hint at a mechanistic underpinning of enhanced vigour for approach and exploration frequently postulated for novelty seeking humans. In conclusion, we show that stimulus novelty enhances the speed of a cued motor action. We suggest this is likely to reflect an adaptation to changing environments but may also provide a source of maladaptive choice and impulsive behaviour.
Project description:Maladaptive impulsivity is a core symptom in various psychiatric disorders. However, there is only limited evidence available on whether different measures of impulsivity represent largely unrelated aspects or a unitary construct. In a cross-species translational study, thirty rats were trained in impulsive choice (delayed reward task) and impulsive action (five-choice serial reaction time task) paradigms. The correlation between those measures was assessed during baseline performance and after pharmacological manipulations with the psychostimulant amphetamine and the norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor atomoxetine. In parallel, to validate the animal data, 101 human subjects performed analogous measures of impulsive choice (delay discounting task, DDT) and impulsive action (immediate and delayed memory task, IMT/DMT). Moreover, all subjects completed the Stop Signal Task (SST, as an additional measure of impulsive action) and filled out the Barratt impulsiveness scale (BIS-11). Correlations between DDT and IMT/DMT were determined and a principal component analysis was performed on all human measures of impulsivity. In both rats and humans measures of impulsive choice and impulsive action did not correlate. In rats the within-subject pharmacological effects of amphetamine and atomoxetine did not correlate between tasks, suggesting distinct underlying neural correlates. Furthermore, in humans, principal component analysis identified three independent factors: (1) self-reported impulsivity (BIS-11); (2) impulsive action (IMT/DMT and SST); (3) impulsive choice (DDT). This is the first study directly comparing aspects of impulsivity using a cross-species translational approach. The present data reveal the non-unitary nature of impulsivity on a behavioral and pharmacological level. Collectively, this warrants a stronger focus on the relative contribution of distinct forms of impulsivity in psychopathology.
Project description:Impulsivity is an endophenotype found in many psychiatric disorders including substance use disorders, pathological gambling, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Two behavioral features often considered in impulsive behavior are behavioral inhibition (impulsive action) and delayed gratification (impulsive choice). However, the extent to which these behavioral constructs represent distinct facets of behavior with discrete biological bases is unclear. To test the hypothesis that impulsive action and impulsive choice represent statistically independent behavioral constructs in mice, we collected behavioral measures of impulsivity in a single cohort of mice using well-validated operant behavioral paradigms. Mice with manipulation of serotonin 1B receptor (5-HT1BR) expression were included as a model of disordered impulsivity. A factor analysis was used to characterize correlations between the measures of impulsivity and to identify covariates. Using two approaches, we dissociated impulsive action from impulsive choice. First, the absence of 5-HT1BRs caused increased impulsive action, but not impulsive choice. Second, based on an exploratory factor analysis, a two-factor model described the data well, with measures of impulsive action and choice separating into two independent factors. A multiple-indicator multiple-causes analysis showed that 5-HT1BR expression and sex were significant covariates of impulsivity. Males displayed increased impulsivity in both dimensions, whereas 5-HT1BR expression was a predictor of increased impulsive action only. These data support the conclusion that impulsive action and impulsive choice are distinct behavioral phenotypes with dissociable biological influences that can be modeled in mice. Our work may help inform better classification, diagnosis, and treatment of psychiatric disorders, which present with disordered impulsivity.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Rats reared in social isolation exhibit various cognitive and behavioural abnormalities in adulthood. However, impulsivity following this treatment still remains unclear, especially in response to medications used in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, such as amphetamine.<h4>Methods</h4>Using an isolation-rearing (IR) manipulation, the present study examined the effects of IR on impulsive action and impulsive choice when also treated with doses of D-amphetamine, by employing the five-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT) and a temporal discounting of reward task (TDRT), respectively.<h4>Results</h4>IR rats showed similar acquisition of the 5-CSRTT. Amphetamine increased premature responding in both groups; however, IR rats showed less responding overall. For the TDRT, IR rats revealed a greater preference for the large but delayed reward during task acquisition (i.e. were less impulsive) with a higher rate of nose poking during the delay, and exhibited a compressed dose-response function (i.e. reduced dose sensitivity) for amphetamine.<h4>Discussion</h4>Impulsive action and impulsive choice were reduced in IR rats under certain conditions, and a blunted response to D-amphetamine was found on these measures. These reductions in impulsivity contrast with locomotor hyperactivity normally shown in IR rats and the findings have implications for the utility of IR as a model of psychopathology.
Project description:The present experiment investigated early-rearing environment modulation of individual differences in impulsive and risky choice. Rats were reared in an isolated condition (IC; n=12), in which they lived alone without novel stimuli, or an enriched condition (EC; n=11), in which they lived among conspecifics with novel stimuli. The impulsive choice task involved choices between smaller-sooner (SS) versus larger-later (LL) rewards. The risky choice task involved choices between certain-smaller (C-S) versus uncertain-larger (U-L) rewards. Following choice testing, incentive motivation to work for food was measured using a progressive ratio task and correlated with choice behavior. HPLC analyses were conducted to determine how monoamine concentrations within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAC) related to behavior in different tasks. IC rats were more impulsive than EC rats, but they did not differ in risky choice behavior. However, choice behavior across tasks was significantly correlated (i.e., the more impulsive rats were also riskier). There were no group differences in monoamine levels, but noradrenergic and serotonergic concentrations were significantly correlated with impulsive and risky choice. Furthermore, serotonin and norepinephrine concentrations in the NAC significantly correlated with incentive motivation and the timing of the reward delays within the choice tasks. These results suggest a role for domain general processes in impulsive and risky choice and indicate the importance of the NAC and/or PFC in timing, reward processing, and choice behavior.
Project description:In this study, we aimed to develop a behavioral task that measures pro-social decision making in rats. A fully automated, operant pro-social two-choice task is introduced that quantifies pro-social preferences for a mutual food reward in a set-up with tightly controlled task contingencies. Pairs of same-sex adult Wistar rats were placed in an operant chamber divided into two compartments (one rat per compartment), separated by a transparent barrier with holes that allowed the rats to see, hear, smell, but not touch each other. Test rats could earn a sucrose pellet either for themselves (own reward) or for themselves and the partner (both reward) by means of lever pressing. On average, male rats showed a 60 % preference for the lever that yielded a food reward for both themselves and their partner. In contrast, females did not show lever preference, regardless of the estrous cycle phase. Next, the impact of juvenile environmental factors on male rat social decision making was studied. Males were group-housed from postnatal day 26 onwards in complex housing Marlau™ cages that provided social and physical enrichment and stimulation in the form of novelty. Complex housed males did not show a preference for the pro-social lever.
Project description:Impaired cognitive processing is a hallmark of addiction. In particular, deficits in inhibitory control can propel continued drug use despite adverse consequences. Clinical evidence shows that detoxified alcoholics exhibit poor inhibitory control in the Continuous Performance Task (CPT) and related tests of motor impulsivity. Animal models may provide important insight into the neural mechanisms underlying this consequence of chronic alcohol exposure though pre-clinical investigations of behavioral inhibition during alcohol abstinence are sparse. The present study employed the rat 5 Choice-Continuous Performance Task (5C-CPT), a novel pre-clinical variant of the CPT, to evaluate attentional capacity and impulse control over the course of protracted abstinence from chronic intermittent alcohol consumption. In tests conducted with familiar 5C-CPT conditions EtOH-exposed rats exhibited impaired attentional capacity during the first hours of abstinence and impaired behavioral restraint (increased false alarms) during the first 5d of abstinence that dissipated thereafter. Subsequent tests employing visual distractors that increase the cognitive load of the task revealed significant increases in impulsive action (premature responses) at 3 and 5 weeks of abstinence, and the emergence of impaired behavioral restraint (increased false alarms) at 7 weeks of abstinence. Collectively, these findings demonstrate the emergence of increased impulsive action in alcohol-dependent rats during protracted alcohol abstinence and suggest the 5C-CPT with visual distractors may provide a viable behavioral platform for characterizing the neurobiological substrates underlying impaired behavioral inhibition resulting from chronic intermittent alcohol exposure.
Project description:Chronic abuse of heroin leads to long-lasting and complicated cognitive impairment. Dopamine receptors are critically involved in the impulsive drug-driven behavior and the altered attention, processing speed, and mental flexibility that are associated with higher relapse rates. However, the effects of the different dopamine receptors and their possible involvement in heroin-induced cognitive impairment remain unclear.The 5-choice serial reaction time task was used to investigate the profiles of heroin-induced cognitive impairment in mice. The expression levels of dopamine D1- and D2-like receptors in the prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, and caudate-putamen were determined. The effects of dopamine receptors on heroin-induced impulsivity in the 5-choice serial reaction time task were examined by agonist/antagonist treatment on D1 or D3 receptor mutant mice.Systemic heroin administration influences several variables in the 5-choice serial reaction time task, most notably premature responses, a measure of motor impulsivity. These behavioral impairments are associated with increased D1 receptor and decreased D3 receptor mRNA and protein levels in 3 observed brain areas. The heroin-evoked increase in premature responses is mimicked by a D1 agonist and prevented by a D1 antagonist or genetic ablation of the D1 receptor gene. In contrast, a D3 agonist decreases both basal and heroin-evoked premature responses, while genetic ablation of the D3 receptor gene results in increased basal and heroin-evoked premature responses.Heroin-induced impulsive behavior in the 5-choice serial reaction time task is oppositely modulated by D1 and D3 receptor activation. The D1 receptors in the cortical-mesolimbic region play an indispensable role in modulating such behaviors.
Project description:Poor impulse control is associated with an increased propensity to develop an addiction and may contribute to relapse as high impulsive subjects appear to attribute greater salience toward drug-paired stimuli. In these studies, we determined whether trait impulsivity also predicts the desire to obtain natural reward-paired stimuli. Rats trained on the 5-choice serial reaction time task to measure impulsive action (Experiment 1) or a delay-discounting task to measure impulsive choice (Experiment 2) were separated into low, intermediate, or high impulsive action (L-IA, I-IA, H-IA) or choice (L-IC, I-IC, H-IC) groups. The motivation to obtain a conditioned stimulus (CS) paired with water-reward was subsequently determined by measuring responding for the CS as a conditioned reinforcer (CRf). Dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens was also measured using in vivo microdialysis. The effects of amphetamine were assessed on all tests. In Experiment 1, amphetamine increased impulsive action in all groups. L-IA rats initially demonstrated the highest responding for the CRf. Amphetamine increased responding for the CRf and this effect was augmented in L-IA rats. Dopamine release following amphetamine was greatest in L-IA subjects. In Experiment 2, amphetamine increased impulsive choice for L-IC and I-IC rats. However, all groups responded similarly for the CRf and dopamine release was moderately greater in L-IC rats. In conclusion, impulsive choice was unrelated to responding for a CRf. L-IA subjects initially attributed enhanced salience to a CS and exhibited greater dopamine release. Lower dopamine release in H-IA rats could result in reduced reinforcing properties of the CRf.
Project description:Despite the strong association between impulsivity and addiction in humans, it is still a matter of debate whether impulsive choice predisposes to, or results from, drug dependence. Furthermore, it is unknown whether treating impulsivity can protect against relapse propensity. Therefore, this study explored the bidirectional relationship between impulsive choice and cocaine taking and seeking in rat behavioral models. In experiment 1, to determine whether impulsive choice predisposes to cocaine taking or seeking, rats were selected based on trait impulsivity in a delayed reward task and subsequently compared on various stages of cocaine self-administration (SA). To examine the consequence of cocaine intake on impulsive choice, impulsivity was monitored once a week throughout various stages of cocaine SA. To determine whether treating impulsive choice can protect against relapse propensity, in experiment 2, impulsive choice was manipulated by pharmacological interventions and cocaine-associated contextual cues. Trait impulsive choice as determined in experiment 1 predicted high extinction resistance and enhanced propensity to context-induced relapse in the cocaine SA model, whereas cocaine intake did not alter impulsive choice. Furthermore, acute changes in impulsive choice were not related to rates of context-induced relapse. Taken together, the current data indicate that trait impulsive choice predicts persistent cocaine seeking during extinction and enhanced propensity to relapse, whereas acute manipulations of impulsive choice had no favorable outcomes on relapse measures. These observations suggest that trait impulsivity can be used as a predictive factor for addiction liability, but treating this impulsivity does not necessarily protect against relapse.