UNIT 5.49 Rodent Model of Attention: The 5-Choice Serial Reaction Time Task

  1. Guy A. Higgins1,
  2. Nathalie Breysse2

Published Online: 1 JUN 2008

DOI: 10.1002/0471141755.ph0549s41

Current Protocols in Pharmacology

Current Protocols in Pharmacology

How to Cite

Higgins, G. A. and Breysse, N. 2008. Rodent Model of Attention: The 5-Choice Serial Reaction Time Task. Current Protocols in Pharmacology. 41:5.49:5.49.1–5.49.20.

Author Information

  1. 1

    BioQuest Innovations Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  2. 2

    Wyeth Research, Discovery Neuroscience, Princeton, New Jersey

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUN 2008
  2. Published Print: JUN 2008

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (11 SEP 2017)


The 5-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT) is the most widely used test to measure attentional performance in rodents. The basic test design involves training animals to respond to a brief visual stimulus presented unpredictably in one of five locations. Once trained to stable performance levels, the effects of experimental manipulations on response speed and choice accuracy are measured and each are related to attentional performance. Increasingly, the test is also used to examine aspects of response control. Having been adapted from a human task, the test has also been successfully extended to the mouse and primate, thus highlighting its translational value. Increasingly this test is being applied in drug discovery efforts, primarily to identify novel drug treatments for conditions associated with attention deficits. Curr. Protoc. Pharmacol. 41:5.49.1-5.49.20. © 2008 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • attention;
  • cognition;
  • methodology;
  • rat;
  • mouse;
  • drug discovery;
  • nicotine