Recurrent perseveration correlates with abnormal repetitive locomotion in adult mink but is not reduced by environmental enrichment

Behav Brain Res. 2011 Oct 31;224(2):213-22. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.03.061. Epub 2011 Apr 2.


We analysed the relationship between abnormal repetitive behaviour (ARB), the presence/absence of environmental enrichment, and two types of behavioural disinhibition in farmed American mink, Neovison vison. The first type, recurrent perseveration, the inappropriate repetition of already completed responses, was assessed using three indices of excessive response repetition and patterning in a bias-corrected serial two-choice guessing task. The second type, disinhibition of prepotent responses to reward cues, a form of impulsivity, was tested in a locomotive detour task adapted from primate reaching tasks: subjects were required to walk around, rather than directly into, a transparent barrier behind which food was visible. In older adult females, recurrent perseveration positively predicted pre-feeding abnormal repetitive locomotion (ARL) in Non-enriched housing. High-ARL subjects also performed repeated (same-choice) responses more rapidly than low-ARL animals, even when statistically controlling for alternated (different-choice) response latency. Mink performed much less ARL following transfer to Enriched housing, but there was no corresponding change in recurrent perseveration. Thus, elevated recurrent perseveration is not sufficient for frequent ARL; and while captive environments do determine ARL frequency, in mink, they do not necessarily do so by modifying levels of perseveration. Disinhibition of prepotent responses to reward cues, meanwhile, did not predict ARL. In a separate sample of differentially housed young adults, neither type of behavioural disinhibition predicted ARL, and again, whether or not housing was enriched did not affect behavioural disinhibition despite affecting ARL. Thus, the relationship between recurrent perseveration and ARB may only develop with age; longitudinal studies are now required for confirmation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology
  • Cues
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Food
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Markov Chains
  • Mink / physiology*
  • Reward
  • Stereotyped Behavior / physiology*