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Stimulus probability effects on temporal bisection performance of mice (Mus musculus)

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Abstract

In the temporal bisection task, participants classify experienced stimulus durations as short or long based on their temporal similarity to previously learned reference durations. Temporal decision making in this task should be influenced by the experienced probabilities of the reference durations for adaptiveness. In this study, we tested the temporal bisection performance of mice (Mus musculus) under different short and long reference duration probability conditions implemented across two experimental phases. In Phase 1, the proportion of reference durations (compared to probe durations) was 0.5, whereas in Phase 2 it was increased to 0.8 to further examine the adjustment of choice behavior with more frequent reference duration presentations (under higher reinforcement rate). Our findings suggest that mice developed adaptive biases in their choice behaviors. These adjustments in choice behavior were nearly optimal as the mice maximized their gain to a great extent which required them to monitor stimulus probabilities as well as the level of variability in their temporal judgments. We further found that short but not long categorization response times were sensitive to stimulus probability manipulations, which in turn suggests an asymmetry between short and long categorizations. Finally, we investigated the latent decision processes underlying the bias manifested in subjects’ choice behavior within the diffusion model framework. Our results revealed that probabilistic information influenced the starting point and the rate of evidence accumulation process. Overall, the stimulus probability effects on choice behavior were modulated by the reinforcement rate. Our findings illustrate that mice can adapt their temporal behaviors with respect to the probabilistic contingencies in the environment.

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Acknowledgments

This study was conducted at the Koç University Animal Research Facility. The authors thank Dr. Ali Cihan Taşkın, Mehmet Yücel, and Ahmet Kocabay for their assistance in animal care and technical support. This research was supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) 1001 (#111K402) Grant to FB.

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Correspondence to Fuat Balcı.

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The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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All animal procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Koç University Animal Research Local Ethics Committee.

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Akdoğan, B., Balcı, F. Stimulus probability effects on temporal bisection performance of mice (Mus musculus). Anim Cogn 19, 15–30 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-015-0909-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-015-0909-6

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