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Behav Brain Res. 2012 Oct 1;234(2):375-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.07.015. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Male and female Wistar rats differ in decision-making performance in a rodent version of the Iowa Gambling Task.

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1
Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands. r.vandenbos@uu.nl

Abstract

The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) measures decision-making processes by simulating real-life decisions involving reward, punishment, and uncertainty of outcomes. In humans, men show more choices for the advantageous option than women. Here, we investigated sex differences in a rat model of the IGT (r-IGT). In our r-IGT mildly food-deprived rats learn to differentiate a long-term advantageous arm from a long-term disadvantageous arm differing in frequency and amount of sugar pellets as well as unpalatable but not uneatable quinine-treated sugar pellets. We also used a T-maze discrimination procedure in which rats learn to differentiate a high from a low reward arm to further explore sex differences in reward-related decision-making. In line with human data, male rats showed a stronger task progression of choices for the advantageous option than female rats. Furthermore, male rats showed more win-stay and less lose-shift behaviour in the advantageous arm as the task progressed than female rats. Whilst both male and female rats had a stronger preference for the high over the small reward arm in the T-maze, males increased this preference over sessions, whilst females did not. These data are discussed in relation to sex differences in processing rewards and punishments.

PMID:
22814113
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbr.2012.07.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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