Validation of a battery of inhibitory control tasks reveals a multifaceted structure in non-human primates

Louise Loyant, Bridget Waller, Jerome Micheletta, Marine Joly

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Inhibitory control, the ability to override an inappropriate prepotent response, is crucial in many aspects of everyday life. However, the various paradigms designed to measure inhibitory control often suffer from a lack of systematic validation and have yielded mixed results. Thus the nature of this ability remains unclear, is it a general construct or a family of distinct sub-components? Therefore, the aim of this study was first to demonstrate the content validity and the temporal repeatability of a battery of inhibitory control tasks. Then we wanted to assess the contextual consistency of performances between these tasks to better understand the structure of inhibitory control. We tested 21 rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta, 12 males, 9 females) in a battery of touchscreen tasks assessing three main components of inhibitory control: inhibition of a distraction (using a Distraction task), inhibition of an impulsive action (using a Go/no-go task) and inhibition of a cognitive set (using a Reversal learning task). All tasks were reliable and effective at measuring the inhibition of a prepotent response. However, while there was consistency of performance between the inhibition of a distraction and the inhibition of an action, representing a response-driven basic form of inhibition, this was not found for the inhibition of a cognitive set. We argue that the inhibition of a cognitive set is a more cognitively demanding form of inhibition. This study gives a new insight in the multifaceted structure of inhibitory control and highlights the importance of a systematic validation of cognitive tasks in animal cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12863
Number of pages29
Early online date9 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2022


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