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Title: Executive function and prefrontal cortex in rats
Author: Duffaud, Anais M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 5899
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2008
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The term executive function describes a set of high-level abilities that influence more basic motor, sensory and mnemonic processes. These functions include working memory, behavioural flexibility, inhibitory control, attentional processes and decision making. A large number of evidence, from human studies, non-human primates, rats and mice studies, has demonstrated a role for the prefrontal cortex in these higher cognitive processes. The central aim of this thesis was to investigate two important aspects of the cognitive executive control: working memory and behavioural flexibility. The experiments described in the first two empirical chapters present the design of new operant paradigms to study these processes. Two further empirical chapters consider the neurobiological basis of behavioural flexibility, with a particular emphasize on the infralimbic (IL) and prelimbic (PL) regions of the rat medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Although, the IL and PL regions have generally been considered as a single functional unit, empirical findings presented in this thesis provide evidence suggesting that the IL and PL mPFC can be viewed as independent but interactive regions with complementary roles in the control of behaviour. That is, the PL brings simple cue-outcome associations and more complex behavioural patterns under the modulatory influence of contextual, or other task-relevant, information and in contrast, the IL exerts an inhibitory influence over the PL biasing the animal towards simple, prepotent, learned or innate behavioural patterns.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available