Delayed alternation in adolescent and adult male and female rats

Wendy A. Koss, Andrew D. Franklin, Janice M. Juraska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prefrontal cortex continues to develop throughout adolescence in several species, and our laboratory has demonstrated that during adolescence there is a decrease in neurons in the rat medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). A PFC-dependent task, the delayed alternation task, was used in the present study to examine the function of the mPFC while it is still maturing in rats of both sexes. A deficit was found in adolescents when compared to adults during 15- and 60-s delays but not at other delays (5, 10, 30, and 90s). Furthermore, adolescents committed more perseverative errors. No significant sex differences occurred at any delay for either age group; however, in the no delay training sessions, adolescent males reached criterion faster than females. These results indicate that performance on a mPFC-dependent task improves between adolescence and adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-731
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental psychobiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Adolescence
  • Perseveration
  • Postnatal development
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • T-maze
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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