Animal Paradigms to Assess Cognition with Translation to Humans


Wallace, T. L., Ballard, T. M., & Glavis-Bloom, C. (2015). Animal paradigms to assess cognition with translation to humans. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, 228, 27-57. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-16522-6_2


Cognition is a complex brain function that represents processes such as learning and memory, attention, working memory, and executive functions amongst others. Impairments in cognition are prevalent in many neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders with few viable treatment options. The development of new therapies is challenging, and poor efficacy in clinical development continues to be one of the most consistent reasons compounds fail to advance, suggesting that traditional animal models are not predictive of human conditions and behavior. An effort to improve the construct validity of neuropsychological testing across species with the intent of facilitating therapeutic development has been strengthening over recent years. With an emphasis on understanding the underlying biology, optimizing the use of appropriate systems (e.g., transgenic animals) to model targeted disease states, and incorporating non-rodent species (e.g., non-human primates) that may enable a closer comparison to humans, an improvement in the translatability of the results will be possible. This chapter focuses on some promising translational cognitive paradigms for use in rodents, non-human primates, and humans.

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