Sex differences in interval timing and attention to time in C57Bl/6J mice

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Abstract

Interval timing is crucial for decision-making and motor control and is impaired in many neuropsychiatric disorders. Previous studies examined timing in various strains or genetically-altered mice, but not in parallel in male and female mice in the same experimental setting. We investigated timing and attention to time in male and female C57Bl/6J mice, when presented with gaps in the timed stimulus, novel auditory distracters presented during the un-interrupted timed stimulus, and gap + distracter combinations. No sex differences were found in regard to timing accuracy and precision. However, presentation of the gap + distracter combination over-reset timing in males but had a much smaller effect in females. The over-reset strategy was reported previously with emotional distracters (e.g., previously paired with footshock) but not with neutral distracters. These results reveal sex differences in attentional gating/switching or working memory for time.

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