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Behav Neurosci. 2009 Oct;123(5):1102-13. doi: 10.1037/a0017106.

Interval timing accuracy and scalar timing in C57BL/6 mice.

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Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425-0510, USA.


In many species, interval timing behavior is accurate-appropriate estimated durations-and scalar-errors vary linearly with estimated durations. Whereas accuracy has been previously examined, scalar timing has not been clearly demonstrated in house mice (Mus musculus), raising concerns about mouse models of human disease. The authors estimated timing accuracy and precision in C57BL/6 mice, the most used background strain for genetic models of human disease, in a peak-interval procedure with multiple intervals. Both when timing 2 intervals (Experiment 1) or 3 intervals (Experiment 2), C57BL/6 mice demonstrated varying degrees of timing accuracy. An important finding was that, both at the individual and group levels, their precision varied linearly with the subjective estimated duration. Further evidence for scalar timing was obtained using an intraclass correlation statistic. This is the first report of consistent, reliable scalar timing in a sizable sample of house mice, thus validating the peak-interval procedure as a valuable technique, the intraclass correlation statistic as a powerful test of the scalar property, and the C57BL/6 strain as a suitable background for behavioral investigations of genetically engineered mice modeling disorders of interval timing.

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