Measuring Impulsive Choice Behaviour in Mice

  • Claire L. Dent
  • Anthony R. Isles
Part of the Neuromethods book series (NM, volume 63)


Impulsive behaviour is a fundamental component of numerous psychiatric illnesses including mood disorders. In order to measure “impulsivity” and understand the complex neurological underpinnings of this behavioural construct, it is beneficial to employ the use of mouse models. Neuropsychological tasks used to measure impulsivity in humans have been successfully translated into behavioural tests to characterise impulsivity in mice. This has lead to the development of the delayed reinforcement paradigm, which specifically measures “impulsive choice”. This, combined with genetic and pharmacological manipulations, allows insight into possible biological markers associated with impulsive choice. This chapter provides a description of the equipment and procedures required to measure impulsive choice in a delayed reinforcement paradigm, as well as examples of results and troubleshooting advice to optimise the behavioural data.

Key words

Delay discounting Reinforcer Operant chamber Inbred strains Psychopharmacology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavioural Genetics Group, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Neuroscience and Mental Health Research InstituteCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  2. 2.Department of Psychological Medicine and NeurologyCardiff University School of MedicineCardiffUK

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