Check out our latest preprint turned publication in Behavioral Neuroscience!
We used a progressive ratio licking task in which rats had to make increasing numbers of licks to receive liquid sucrose rewards. We determined what measures of progressive ratio performance are sensitive to value by testing rats with rewards containing 0%–16% sucrose. We found some measures (breakpoint, number of licking bouts) were sensitive to sucrose concentration and others (response rate, duration of licking bouts) were not. Inactivation of MFC had no effects on measures associated with value (e.g., breakpoint), but did alter behavioral measures associated with the pace of task performance (response rate and time to break). Our findings suggest that the medial frontal cortex has a role in maintaining task engagement, but not in the motivational control of action, in the progressive ratio licking task.