Measuring impulsivity in mice: the five-choice serial reaction time task

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Jan;219(2):253-70. doi: 10.1007/s00213-011-2560-5. Epub 2011 Nov 18.


Rationale: Mice are useful tools for dissecting genetic and environmental factors in relation to the study of attention and impulsivity. The five-choice serial reaction time task (5CSRTT) paradigm has been well established in rats, but its transferability to mice is less well documented.

Objectives: This study aims to summarise the main results of the 5CSRTT in mice, with special focus on impulsivity.

Methods: The 5CSRTT can be used to explore aspects of both attentional and inhibitory control mechanisms.

Results: Different manipulations of the task parameters can lead to different results; adjusting the protocol as a function of the main variable of interest or the standardisation of the protocol to be applied to a large set of strains will be desirable.

Conclusions: The 5CSRTT has proven to be a useful tool to investigate impulsivity in mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / drug effects
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Choice Behavior / drug effects*
  • Cholinergic Neurons / drug effects
  • Cholinergic Neurons / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • GABAergic Neurons / drug effects
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology
  • Genetic Association Studies / methods
  • Glutamic Acid / physiology
  • Impulsive Behavior / genetics
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Mice
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Serial Learning / drug effects
  • Serial Learning / physiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Time Factors


  • Glutamic Acid
  • Dopamine