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Behav Brain Res. 2013 May 15;245:22-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.02.014. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Effect of orbitofrontal cortex lesions on temporal discounting in rats.

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  • 1Center for Synaptic Brain Dysfunctions, Institute for Basic Science, Daejeon 305-701, Republic of Korea.


Although choices of both humans and animals are more strongly influenced by immediate than delayed rewards, methodological limitations have made it difficult to estimate the precise form of temporal discounting in animals. In the present study, we sought to characterize temporal discounting in rats and to test the role of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in this process. Rats were trained in a novel intertemporal choice task in which the sequence of delay durations was randomized across trials. The animals tended to choose a small immediate reward more frequently as the delay for a large reward increased, and, consistent with previous findings in other species, their choice behavior was better accounted for by hyperbolic than exponential discount functions. In addition, model comparisons showed that the animal's choice behavior was better accounted for by more complex discount functions with an additional parameter than a hyperbolic discount function. Following bilateral OFC lesions, rats extensively trained in this task showed no significant change in their intertemporal choice behavior. Our results suggest that the rodent OFC may not always play a role in temporal discounting when delays are randomized and/or after extensive training.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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