A novel task to assess mood congruent memory bias in non-human animals

Burman, Oliver and Mendl, M (2018) A novel task to assess mood congruent memory bias in non-human animals. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 308 . pp. 269-275. ISSN 1872-678X

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneumeth.2018.07.003

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A novel task to assess mood congruent memory bias in non-human animals
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Abstract

Background: Assessing the affective state of animals is important for a range of research
areas, including neuroscience. The use of cognitive judgement and attention biases to
determine affective state has been demonstrated in animals, but approaches to assess
mood-congruent biases in memory have yet to become established. New Method: We
describe a novel methodology to investigate memory bias in animals, presenting initial data
using the influence of social status to manipulate affective state. The method required
laboratory rats to achieve criterion at a working-memory task in an eight-arm radial maze
before probing their memory of putative negative, positive or neutral events that occurred
in specific arms of the maze. They were tested 2hrs and 24hrs after experiencing each event
to determine how the affective valence of the event influenced task performance. Results:
Regardless of social status, rats avoided arms where they had experienced negative events
and preferred arms where they had experienced positive events. However, subordinate rats
made errors sooner than dominant rats in tests following exposure to the negative event.
Furthermore, whilst subordinate individuals made errors earlier in tests following the
negative event relative to the neutral or positive event, dominant rats made errors earlier in
tests that followed the positive event. Comparison with existing method(s): Changes in
performance thus appeared to reflect social status and associated affective state, confirming
a new method for assessing animal affect. Conclusions: This new memory bias task could
potentially be used to determine affective state in a range of non-human animal species.

Additional Information:The final published version of this article can be accessed online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165027018302103?via%3Dihub
Keywords:Emotion, Cognitive Bias, Animal Welfare
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:33443
Deposited On:18 Oct 2018 13:11

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