Translational approaches to evaluating motivation in laboratory rodents: conventional and touchscreen-based procedures

12 Mar 2018

Several neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders are characterised by motivational impairments manifested as lack of behavioural activation or energy resulting in significant functional impairment. Given the clinical significance of these symptoms, the study of motivation in preclinical research has recently intensified. This review briefly summarises the tasks that have been implemented for the evaluation of motivation in different species, emphasising the recent use of touchscreen-based rodent testing systems. This methodology has been widely used in the evaluation of multiple cognitive domains emphasising their translational value and flexibility. Recently touchscreen-based versions of classical tasks for the evaluation of motivation have been or are currently being developed and validated, thus facilitating translation from animal to human research and promoting their implementation in clinical contexts.