The Power of Interstimulus Interval for the Assessment of Temporal Processing in Rodents

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Temporal processing deficits have been implicated as a potential elemental dimension of higher-level cognitive processes, commonly observed in neurocognitive disorders. Despite the popularization of prepulse inhibition (PPI) in recent years, many current protocols promote using a percent of control measure, thereby precluding the assessment of temporal processing. The present study used cross-modal PPI and gap prepulse inhibition (gap-PPI) to demonstrate the benefits of employing a range of interstimulus intervals (ISIs) to delineate effects of sensory modality, psychostimulant exposure, and age. Assessment of sensory modality, psychostimulant exposure, and age reveals the utility of an approach varying the interstimulus interval (ISI) to establish the shape of the ISI function, including increases (sharper curve inflections) or decreases (flattening of the response amplitude curve) in startle amplitude. Additionally, shifts in peak response inhibition, suggestive of a differential sensitivity to the manipulation of ISI, are often revealed. Thus, the systematic manipulation of ISI affords a critical opportunity to evaluate temporal processing, which may reveal the underlying neural mechanisms involved in neurocognitive disorders.