Gabor patterns as stimuli in a rodent visual attention task

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Background: Gabor patterns are defined as the product of a sinusoid function and a Gaussian envelope and are commonly used in visual and attentional research due to their ability to selectively stimulate the primary visual cortex. The aim of this study was to investigate whether Gabor patterns can be used as visual stimuli in the rodent continuous performance test (rCPT), a newly developed task to study attentional function and impulsivity.

Methods: Sixteen male C57BL/6J mice were trained in the rCPT using Gabor patterns as visual stimuli and their performance was compared to sixteen mice that were trained using traditional high-contrast pattern stimuli. Mice were compared during training, baseline, and a variable stimulus duration probe.

Results: The Gabor pattern group required more training sessions to reach criteria than the group with high-contrast patterns. At baseline, the Gabor pattern group showed a higher false alarm rate and a lower discriminability index. As task difficulty increased during the variable stimulus duration probe, differences between groups became more pronounced. Specifically, the Gabor pattern group showed decreased hit rate and discriminability index, as well as increased false alarm rate and premature responses compared to the high-contrast pattern group.

Conclusion: This feasibility study showed that it is possible to use Gabor patterns as visual stimuli in the rCPT, although it increases task demands. We discuss the differences between Gabor patterns and high-contrast patterns in the context of translatability of animal models in visual and cognitive research and give two examples of applicability.

TidsskriftNeuroscience Letters
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 2020

ID: 246353296