Behavioural characterisation of high impulsivity on the 5-choice serial reaction time task: specific deficits in 'waiting' versus 'stopping'

ESJ Robinson, DM Eagle, D Economidou, DE Theobald, AC Mar, ER Murphy, TW, Robbins, JW Dalley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Impulsivity is a core deficit of a number of neuropsychiatric disorders including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anti-social conduct disorder and drug addiction. Recent research has highlighted the multifaceted nature of impulsivity and the myriad of putative neural and psychological mechanisms thought to underpin behavioural syndromes of impaired self-control. Here we report a novel conceptualisation of impulsivity based on 'waiting' and 'stopping' efficiency with explanatory value in defining the psychological and neural basis of impulsivity and the high co-morbidity of brain disorders such as ADHD and drug addiction. Rats selected for high levels of impulsivity on a reaction time task analogous to the continuous performance test in humans exhibited correspondingly high levels of impulsive decision-making on a delay-of-reward task. The same rats, however, were unimpaired on a stop-signal task requiring inhibition of an already initiated motor response. The specific nature of this deficit in 'waiting impulsivity' was confirmed by unimpaired acquisition of appetitive Pavlovian conditioning, a putative ancillary measure of impulsive behaviour. These findings are significant in light of recent evidence linking impulsivity in rats to high levels of cocaine self-administration and development of compulsive cocaine seeking behaviour. We thus suggest that an inability to bridge delays to future rewards and reward-related stimuli is a candidate behavioural endophenotype that pre-disposes to clinical psychopathology.
Translated title of the contributionBehavioural characterisation of high impulsivity on the 5-choice serial reaction time task: specific deficits in 'waiting' versus 'stopping'
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310 - 316
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume196
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

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