News Release

Analyzing half a million mouse decisions

Mouse shows potential as an animal model of decision-making

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Society for Neuroscience

Mouse Decisions

image: A dataset of over half a million trials demonstrates mice can be trained to make stable and reliable decisions about visual stimuli (A) Task schematic and trial structure of the three-port choice task. The mouse initiated trials and stimulus delivery by poking the center port. Mice reported whether stimuli were low-rate (left port) or high-rate (right port). Mice waited at the center port for at least 1100 ms, with the stimulus delivered after a variable delay (10-100ms). At the end of the 1000ms stimulus period, an auditory "Go" tone was played. Correct choices to the left or right were rewarded with a small drop of water (2 μL), incorrect choices were followed by a 2-3 s timeout. (B) Percent correct on easiest stimulus conditions (4 and 20 flashes/s) plotted across total trials experienced by the mouse. Individual mice: gray traces and average: black trace, 29 mice. Colors arbitrarily selected to facilitate distinguishing subjects. view more 

Credit: Odoemene et al. Fig. 1,<i> JNeurosci</i> (2018)

Mice can be used to study the neural circuits underlying complex decision-making, suggests an analysis of more than 500,000 mouse decisions reported in JNeurosci.

Some of the most advanced tools in neuroscience are developed for use with mice, yet studies of behaviors most relevant to humans typically involve other model organisms. Anne Churchland and colleagues addressed this gap by investigating the mouse's potential as an animal model of decision-making.

The researchers trained a large group of mice to distinguish between high and low rates of flashing light and found that the animals employed a decision-making strategy more similar to that used by nonhuman primates than rats. They also identified a brain region that may be part of a circuit supporting this strategy. The research paves the way for manipulation of such a circuit, to be further defined in the future, with powerful techniques to probe its structure and function.


Article: Visual evidence accumulation guides decision-making in unrestrained mice*
Corresponding author: Anne Churchland (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY, USA),

*A preprint of this manuscript has been posted on bioRxiv

About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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