The “cognitive” behavior notion includes not only the expression of behavior plasticity, but exploration activity, habituation etc. as well. In the more narrow sense the cognitive behavior means the capacity of animal to grasp the empirical laws which connect objects and phenomena in the environment and to create the adptive behavior on this basis( according to L.V. Krushinsky) and the ability to form more or less complicated representations (e.g. spatial or temporal etc.). The neurobiological basis of cognitive behavior (in the narrow sense) is performed not only using primate data but those on laboratory rodents as well. The latter permit to use the wider range of experimental approaches, including the study of behavior in animals of different genotypes.
The study of ability to extrapolate the direction of stimulus movement (which disappeared from animal view) and to react adaptively on this basis, had been performed in rats and mice of different genotypes. It was demonstrated that the majority of animals from laboratory strains were not able to solve the extrapolation task (the proportion of correct choices was not significantly different from 50% chance level). At the same time wild rats, their hybrids with laboratory rats as well as mice with certain mutations (partial trisomy in case of T43 translocation,
robertsonian translocation Rb (8,17) 1Iem, mice, selected for large brain weight) were able to solve the extrapolation task (their proportion of correct choices being significantly above the chance level). Certain pharmacological treatments (noopept, selank et al.), as well as environmental enrichment induce the increase the ability to solve the extrapolation task. The selection experiment for high extrapolation scores in mice (with concomitant low anxiety scores) is performed, although at the level of F9-10 no stable differences from controls were found (the control randomly bred population is the one which served the basis for selection). At the same time mice of F9 from selected line performed significantly better at the cognitive “puzzle-box” test, and the most “difficult” test variant in particular. The anxiety level in selected line animals (scored in the independent specialized tests) had been different from that of controls up to F7, although the difference was more complicated in later generations the sex differences becoming significant. The data mean that the genetic base of cognitive behavior is very complicated and the selection success could be more obvious in further selection generations. One may cautiously suggest that the successful mouse performance in cognitive tasks require an “optimal” anxiety level. The experiments were performed according the guidelines of ES 2010 Directive. Supported by RFBF, grant №10-04-00891.