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. 2015 Jan;103(1):50-61.
doi: 10.1002/jeab.115. Epub 2014 Nov 23.

Working-memory Training: Effects on Delay Discounting in Male Long Evans Rats

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Free PMC article

Working-memory Training: Effects on Delay Discounting in Male Long Evans Rats

C Renee Renda et al. J Exp Anal Behav. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Delay discounting describes the devaluation of a reward as the delay to the receipt of the reward increases. Because steep delay discounting is robustly correlated with a number of behavioral problems (e.g., substance dependence, gambling) and some evidence suggests steep discounting precedes and predicts drug-taking in humans and rats, this study sought to experimentally reduce rats' delay discounting. Human stimulant-dependent participants given working-memory training reportedly decreased their rates of discounting relative to a sham-training group (Bickel, Yi, Landes, Hill, & Baxter, 2011). To evaluate the cross-species generality of this effect, 38 male Long-Evans rats, matched on pretraining delay-discounting rates, were randomly assigned to receive 140 sessions of working-memory training or sham training (which required no memory of the sample stimulus). Large between-group differences in working memory were observed after training; however, posttraining delay-discounting rates were undifferentiated across groups. Potential explanations for these findings are discussed.

Keywords: competing neurobehavioral decisions systems theory; delay discounting; executive function; impulsivity; lever press; rats; working-memory training.

Figures

Fig.1
Fig.1
Order of experimental conditions and approximate age of rats. Age varied due to mastery-based criteria.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Retention intervals during working-memory training. Each line shows the average retention interval obtained in each session for individual rats across the final 75 sessions of working-memory training. Rats in the sham-training group experienced the same “retention” intervals during these sessions.
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Average retention intervals from each session of posttraining working-memory assessments. Panels A and B show retention intervals obtained during the initial working-memory assessment for individual WMT and Sham rats, respectively. Panel C shows between-subject averages and SEM for the WMT group (black data paths) and the Sham group (gray data paths). Panels D and E show the average retention intervals in the reassessment of working memory for individual WMT and Sham rats, respectively. Panel F shows the between-subject averages and SEM from this final assessment, separated by group. * p < .001; + p < .005

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