Concurrent electrophysiological recording and cognitive testing in a rodent touchscreen environment

Sci Rep. 2021 Jun 3;11(1):11665. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-91091-9.


Challenges in therapeutics development for neuropsychiatric disorders can be attributed, in part, to a paucity of translational models capable of capturing relevant phenotypes across clinical populations and laboratory animals. Touch-sensitive procedures are increasingly used to develop innovative animal models that better align with testing conditions used in human participants. In addition, advances in electrophysiological techniques have identified neurophysiological signatures associated with characteristics of neuropsychiatric illness. The present studies integrated these methodologies by developing a rat flanker task with electrophysiological recordings based on reverse-translated protocols used in human electroencephalogram (EEG) studies of cognitive control. Various touchscreen-based stimuli were evaluated for their ability to efficiently gain stimulus control and advance to flanker test sessions. Optimized stimuli were then examined for their elicitation of prototypical visual evoked potentials (VEPs) across local field potential (LFP) wires and EEG skull screws. Of the stimuli evaluated, purple and green photographic stimuli were associated with efficient training and expected flanker interference effects. Orderly stimulus-locked outcomes were also observed in VEPs across LFP and EEG recordings. These studies along with others verify the feasibility of concurrent electrophysiological recordings and rodent touchscreen-based cognitive testing and encourage future use of this integrated approach in therapeutics development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Data Analysis
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Electroencephalography* / methods
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Rats
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rodentia*
  • Sex Factors