Title

Dopamine agonists and antagonists can produce an attenuation of response bias in a temporal discrimination task depending on discriminability of target duration

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Harper, DN, Bizo, LA, & Peters, H 2006, 'Dopamine agonists and antagonists can produce an attenuation of response bias in a temporal discrimination task depending on discriminability of target duration', Behavioural Processes, vol. 71, no. 2-3, pp. 286-296

Behavioural Processes home page available: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03766357

Publisher version of article available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2005.11.012

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

The current study examined the effects of the D2 agonist (quinpirole) and D2 antagonist (eticlopride) on temporal discrimination performance in a conditional discrimination task (Experiment I) and a delayed conditional discrimination task (Experiment II). In both experiments rats discriminated between a scheduled stimulus duration of 3 s versus 9 s. Consistent with previous reports, overall discrimination performance decreased in a dose-dependent manner with both drugs. Changes in response bias (the tendency to choose-short or choose-long irrespective of actual stimulus duration), however, were best characterized in terms of both drugs tending to attenuate the bias effects normally observed during baseline drug-free performance. Specifically, the ‘choose-short’ bias observed in Experiment I and at a relatively short, 0.1 s, delay in Experiment II became less extreme with increasing doses. In addition, the ‘choose-long’ bias observed at a relatively long, 6 s, delay in Experiment II also became less extreme with increasing doses. Thus, whether there was an apparent shift from a short response bias to long, or vice versa, was the product of the delay interval between stimulus presentation and choice rather than whether the drug in question was a D2 agonist or antagonist. Such an attenuation of bias may have arisen because of subjects confounding the delay interval with the actual discriminative stimulus duration.