Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Donna Toufexis

Second Advisor

Jom Hammack

Third Advisor

Nathan Jebbett


basal ganglia, indirect pathway, habit, behavior, dorsolateral striatum, viral vector


Altering maladaptive behavioral tendencies is relevant for clinical interventions, making research on underlying mechanisms of habit essential. Mechanisms of habit are explored here with differential activation of the indirect pathway in the basal ganglia. Viral vector-mediated overexpression of the 5-hydroxytryptamine 6 (5-HT6) receptor in the indirect pathway of the dorsolateral striatum was used to increase indirect pathway activity. Subjects were trained such that control animals were expected to exhibit habitual behavior. We hypothesized increased activation of the indirect pathway would maintain goal-directed behavior. To test this hypothesis female rats were assigned to 5-HT6 receptor upregulation or control groups in a reward devaluation behavior paradigm to assess habitual behavior. Although our results do not show anticipated behavioral results following reward devaluation, a lack of statistical power due to small sample sizes does not allow conclusions to be reached.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.