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ERIC Number: EJ1020955
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0502
Acute Stressor Effects on Goal-Directed Action in Rats
Braun, Stephanie; Hauber, Wolfgang
Learning & Memory, v20 n12 p700-709 Dec 2013
Here we examined effects of acute stressors that involve either systemic coadministration of corticosterone/yohimbine (3 mg/kg each) to increase glucocorticoid/noradrenaline activity (denoted as "pharmacological" stressor) or one or several distinct restraint stressors (denoted as "single" vs. "multiple" stressor) on performance of goal-directed actions. Rats were trained over 11 d to perform two instrumental actions, one for food pellets the other for sucrose solution, followed by two consecutive tests days. On each test day, rats were first sated in a counterbalanced manner on one of the two outcomes by prefeeding (selective outcome devaluation), then subjected to an acute stressor, and tested afterward in a two-lever choice task in extinction to assess whether instrumental performance is goal-directed, i.e., sensitive to changes in outcome value. Like in control rats, in rats subjected to the pharmacological or single restraint stressor prior to the choice test, performance of instrumental action was goal-directed, i.e., sensitive to outcome devaluation. By contrast, in rats exposed to the multiple stressor prior to the choice test, performance of instrumental action was habitual, i.e., insensitive to outcome devaluation. Pretreatment with diazepam (1 and 2 mg/kg) did not alleviate (or only marginally) this multiple stressor-induced effect. Thus, an intense acute stressor can render performance of previously acquired instrumental action habitual, possibly due to a compromised retrieval of encoded relationships between actions and their outcome value. Our observation in rats that an acute stressor can shift instrumental responding from goal-directed to habitual control is consistent with similar findings in humans.
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Publication Type: Reports - Research; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A