Schizophrenia is associated with impaired attention. The top-down control of attention, defined as the ability to guide and refocus attention in accordance with internal goals and representations, was identified by the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) initiative as an important construct for task development and research. A recent CNTRICS meeting identified three tasks commonly used with rodent models as having high construct validity and promise for further development: The 5-choice serial reaction time task, the 5-choice continuous performance task, and the distractor condition sustained attention task. Here we describe their current status, including data on their neural substrates, evidence for sensitivity to neuropharmacological manipulations and genetic influences, and data from animal models of the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia. A common strength is the development of parallel human tasks to facilitate connections to the neural circuitry and drug development research done in these animal models. We conclude with recommendations for the steps needed to improve testing so that it better represents the complex biological and behavioral picture presented by schizophrenia.
Keywords: 5C-CPT; 5CSRTT; Attention; CNTRICS; Cognitive control; Schizophrenia; Top-down attention; dSAT.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.