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Effects of STN lesions on simple vs choice reaction time tasks in the rat: preserved motor readiness, but impaired response selection

Baunez, C., Humby, Trevor, Eagle, D. M., Ryan, L. J., Dunnett, Stephen Bruce and Robbins, T. W. 2001. Effects of STN lesions on simple vs choice reaction time tasks in the rat: preserved motor readiness, but impaired response selection. European Journal of Neuroscience 13 (8) , pp. 1609-1616. 10.1046/j.0953-816x.2001.01521.x

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The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a key structure within the basal ganglia, inactivation of which is a current strategy for treating parkinsonism. We have previously shown that bilateral lesions of the STN or pharmacological inactivation of this structure in the rat induce multiple deficits in serial reaction time tasks. The aim of the present study was to investigate further a possible role for the STN in response preparatory processes by using simple (SRT) and choice (CRT) reaction time tasks. In contrast to the CRT procedure, the information related to the location of where the response had to be made was given in advance in the SRT procedure. Accurate performance on these tasks requires not only the selection of the correct response (i.e. which response), but also preparation in order to perform when required. A comparison between the two tasks allows assessment of whether STN lesions affect which response ("which") or when to perform it ("when"). As previously observed in these procedures, the responses were faster as a function of the variable foreperiod preceding the trigger stimulus. This well-known effect, termed "motor readiness, was maintained after STN lesions, suggesting that STN lesions did not affect the "when" phase of action preparation. However, while performance on the SRT was faster than on the CRT task preoperatively, STN lesions slowed RTs and abolished the beneficial effect of advance information, suggesting a deficit in the selection ("which") phase of response preparation. This deficit in the selection phase was further supported by deficits in accuracy of responding after STN lesions, as well as increases in mislocated premature responding in the SRT condition. Together, these results suggest that the STN plays an important role in response preparatory processes, including response selection and inhibitory control processes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: basal ganglia; choice reaction time; cognition; motor programming; motor readiness; simple reaction time
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0953-816X
Last Modified: 03 May 2019 08:04

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