Modafinil improves attention, inhibitory control, and reaction time in healthy, middle-aged rats

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2007 Mar;86(3):531-41. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2007.01.015. Epub 2007 Jan 23.


This study examined the effect of the novel psychostimulant modafinil (Provigil) on a variety of cognitive and behavioral measures including associative learning, sustained attention, inhibitory control, and reaction time. Middle-aged female rats (18-20 months old) were administered oral doses of modafinil (0, 8, 32, and 64 mg/kg) and tested in a 3-choice visual discrimination and sustained attention task. Modafinil produced a dose-dependent pattern of improved response accuracy and impulse control (fewer premature responses) and shorter response latencies, without affecting omission errors, motivation or motor control. Although the biochemical mechanism of modafinil is unknown, these results suggest a profile differing from typical psychostimulants (e.g., amphetamine). The implications of these findings for treatment of narcolepsy, ADHD, and various arousal-related disorders are considered. Further research is needed to examine the relative safety, effectiveness, and addictive potential of modafinil, as well as, its effects in comparison with other performance-enhancing drugs (e.g., caffeine, nicotine, and amphetamines).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / drug effects*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Impulsive Behavior / drug therapy
  • Learning / drug effects
  • Modafinil
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Reaction Time / drug effects*


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Modafinil