Using Touchscreen Operant Systems to Study Cognitive Behaviors in Rodents

Using Touchscreen Operant Systems to Study Cognitive Behaviors in Rodents

Experts discuss methodology and best practices of Bussey-Saksida Touchscreen Systems used for the cognitive evaluation of rodents.  

This translational neuropsychological test plays an important role in studying various clinical disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Schizophrenia.

Translational neuroscience has driven the need to create validated rodent and primate touchscreen ‘Tasks’ that are designed to mimic similar tests in clinical research. These Tasks cover many different aspects of cognitive behavior, one such example being PAL (Paired Associate Learning), a task shown to be very sensitive to detecting early onset of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. This well established human task displays six different images in six locations on a touchscreen — the subject has to remember where each image was shown. If a mistake is made the images are shown to the subject again, introducing learning memory into the Task.

In the rodent version of the Task, subjects are first trained to touch the screens, then to initiate a task, and finally to learn which locations each of three images belong. The animal environment is optimized to focus subject attention to the Task displayed. In addition, to better understand the cognitive processes at play in the touchscreen Tasks these systems have been further developed to integrate behavioural tests with either Electrophysiology recording, optogenetic stimulation or video tracking.

In this exclusive webinar sponsored by Lafayette Instruments, Dr. Julie Gill and Matt Croxall discuss novel rodent Touchscreen systems, referred to as Bussey-Saksida Systems, in terms of the animal environment, various behavioral Tasks, data analysis, methodology and prescribed best practices. In addition, information on integrating Touchscreen behavioral Tasks with video tracking, optogenetics and electrophysiology is shared.

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Julie Gill, PhD
Product Manager,

Matt Croxall
Neuroscience Product & Technical Specialist,
United States

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