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Executive function and prefrontal cortex in rats

Duffaud, Anaïs 2008. Executive function and prefrontal cortex in rats. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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The term executive function describes a set of high-level abilities that influence more basic motor, sensory and mnemonic processes. These functions include working memory, behavioural flexibility, inhibitory control, attentional processes and decision making. A large number of evidence, from human studies, non-human primates, rats and mice studies, has demonstrated a role for the prefrontal cortex in these higher cognitive processes. The central aim of this thesis was to investigate two important aspects of the cognitive executive control: working memory and behavioural flexibility. The experiments described in the first two empirical chapters present the design of new operant paradigms to study these processes. Two further empirical chapters consider the neurobiological basis of behavioural flexibility, with a particular emphasize on the infralimbic (IL) and prelimbic (PL) regions of the rat medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Although, the IL and PL regions have generally been considered as a single functional unit, empirical findings presented in this thesis provide evidence suggesting that the IL and PL mPFC can be viewed as independent but interactive regions with complementary roles in the control of behaviour. That is, the PL brings simple cue-outcome associations and more complex behavioural patterns under the modulatory influence of contextual, or other task-relevant, information and in contrast, the IL exerts an inhibitory influence over the PL biasing the animal towards simple, prepotent, learned or innate behavioural patterns.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
ISBN: 9781303213489
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2018 01:03

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