Priming, a change in the mental processing of a stimulus as a result of prior encounter with a related stimulus, has been observed repeatedly and studied extensively in humans. Yet currently, there is no behavioral model of short-term priming in lab animals, precluding research on the neurobiological basis of priming. Here, we describe an auditory discrimination paradigm for studying response priming in freely moving mice. We find a priming effect in success rate in all mice tested on the task. In contrast, we do not find a priming effect in response times. Compared to non-primed discrimination trials, the addition of incongruent prime stimuli reduces success rate more than congruent prime stimuli, suggesting a cognitive mechanism based on differential interference. The results establish the short-term priming phenomenon in rodents, and the paradigm opens the door to studying the cellular-network basis of priming.
- Behavioral neuroscience
- Sensory neuroscience