Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors
Cerebellum, Cognitive flexibility, Set shift, Rat, Crus I, Crus II
Individuals diagnosed with certain disease states, such as schizophrenia and autism, sometimes present with impaired behavioral flexibility. Such individuals also sometimes present with cerebellar abnormality, suggesting a possible role of the cerebellum in disease states characterized by deficits in cognitive flexibility. To further understand the role the cerebellum may play in such disease states and determine the role of the cerebellum in behavioral flexibility, we compared rats that underwent pharmacological inactivation of the cerebellum with control rats in their completion of a set-shifting T-maze task (Stefani et al., 2003). The T-maze task required the rats to learn to discriminate along one sensory dimension (e.g., color) on day 1 and then, on day 2, to be able to switch to discriminating along another sensory dimension (e.g., texture) and ignore the day 1 dimension (“set-shift”). Infusions were made into a region of cerebellar cortex prior to day 2 training. Comparison between vehicle infused rats and rats with cerebellar pharmacological inactivation showed that pharmacological inactivation did not significantly impact rodent ability to set-shift. The finding that pharmacological inactivation of a small region of the cerebellar cortex did not significantly impact rodent set-shifting suggests the possibility that either the rodent cerebellar cortex is not involved in set-shifting or that a different or larger region of the rodent cerebellum must be inactivated to affect set-shifting ability.
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Davidson, Jennifer M., "Beyond Motor Function: The Role of the Cerebellum in Rodent Cognitive Flexibility" (2018). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 457.