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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Nov;37(9 Pt B):2111-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Animal models of working memory: a review of tasks that might be used in screening drug treatments for the memory impairments found in schizophrenia.

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University of Stirling, Psychology, School of Natural Sciences, Cottrell Building, Stirling FK9 4LA, United Kingdom. Electronic address:


The Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) meeting on "Selecting Promising Animal Paradigms" focused on a consideration of valid tasks for drug discovery in non-humans. This consensus review is based on a break-out session with experts from academia and industry which considered tasks that tap working memory in animals. The specific focus of the session was on tasks measuring goal maintenance, memory capacity, and interference control. Of the tasks nominated for goal maintenance, the most developed paradigms were operant delayed-non-matching-to-position tasks, and touch-screen variants of these may hold particular promise. For memory capacity, the task recommended for further development was the span task, although it is recognized that more work on its neural substrates is required. For interference control, versions of the n-back task were felt to resemble the deficits found in schizophrenia, although additional development of these tasks is also required.


Animal models; Delayed non-matching to position; Odour span; Schizophrenia; Working memory; n-Back

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