Behavior Model for Assessing Decline in Executive Function During Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases

  • Brittney Yegla
  • Thomas C. Foster
  • Ashok KumarEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2011)


Executive dysfunction is a characteristic of several psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Interestingly, executive function, which is mediated by the prefrontal cortex (PFC), commonly declines during aging. The attentional set-shifting task (AST) is commonly and extensively used to assess executive function in rodents, primates, and humans. When properly employed, this task can behaviorally assess attention, response inhibition, and cognitive flexibility. The following section uses research on age-related decline in executive function to demonstrate the methods employed and highlight areas that can confound a study if not employed properly.

Key words

Executive function Attention Cognitive flexibility Prefrontal cortex Attentional set-shifting task Aging Neurodegenerative diseases 



Supported by National Institute of Aging grants R37AG036800, R01049711, R01052258, and R01037984 and the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Research Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brittney Yegla
    • 1
  • Thomas C. Foster
    • 1
  • Ashok Kumar
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.McKnight Brain InstituteUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neuroscience, McKnight Brain InstituteUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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