Summary of Core Facilities

Cognitive Function

Object Recognition

Object Placement

Social Discrimination Memory

Spontaneous Alternation

• Morris Water Maze

• Sensorimotor gaiting

• Radial Arm Maze

• Conditioned Taste Aversion

Labyrinth Maze

Affective / Emotional Behaviors

Social Interaction

Social Preference

Transmission of Food Preferences

Reproductive and mating behavior

Open Field

Marble Burying

Elevated Plus Maze

• Light/Dark Box

• Acoustic Startle

Porsolt (Forced Swim) Test

Maternal behavior

Novelty Supression of Feeding



Tests of Analgesia

Von Frey

Cold Tail Flick


Sensorimotor Function

Open Field


Grip Strength

• Gait analysis and toe spread

Balance Beam

• Visual Placing

• Visual Cliff

• Pupil dilation

Tape removal test



Functional Observation Battery

Estrous Cycle Staging

• Behavioral Tracking software

• Conditioned Place Preference

• Grooming

• Stereotypies

Developmental milestones (pups)

Homing (pups)

Play (juvenile)


Open Field

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This test assays aspects of locomotor, exploratory and emotional behavior (risk assessment and anxiety-like behavior) in response to a novel environment. The expected pattern of behavior is that animals will tend highly explore the novel arena initially, and eventually habituate to the open field [1, 2]. The test can be (and often is) repeated as long as due care is taken to ensure that both controls and treatment groups undergo all preceding procedures in an identical manner [3].

The open field has been extensively validated, ethologically and pharmacologically in both mice and rats [4-18]. Generally, females have higher activity levels than males, and young rodents have higher activity levels than old, but this can vary. The primary measures are locomotor activity (tracklength), exploration (number of rears), anxiety-like behavior (center activity and exploration) and risk assessment (stretched-attend postures. Adjunct measure (such as grooming, defecation, urination, ataxia, stereoptypies and compulsive behaviors) can also be assessed

1. Daenen, E.W.P.M., et al., Adaptation and habituation to an open field and responses to various stressful events in animals with neonatal lesions in the amygdala or ventral hippocampus. Brain Research, 2001. 918(1-2): p. 153.

2. Bolivar, V.J., et al., Habituation of activity in an open field: A survey of inbred strains and F1 hybrids. Behav Genet, 2000. 30(4): p. 285-93.

3. Weijers, H.G. and P. Weyers, Locomotor activity and defecation of rats observed alone and in pairs in repeated open-field sessions. Percept Mot Skills, 1998. 86(3 Pt 2): p. 1179-84.

4. Quadagno, D.M., et al., Influence of gonadal hormones on social, sexual, emergence, and open field behaviour in the rat (Rattus norvegicus). Anim Behav, 1972. 20(4): p. 732-40.

5. Choleris, E., et al., A detailed ethological analysis of the mouse open field test: effects of diazepam, chlordiazepoxide and an extremely low frequency pulsed magnetic field. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 2001. 25(3): p. 235-260.

6. Schmitt, U. and C. Hiemke, Combination of open field and elevated plus-maze: A suitable test battery to assess strain as well as treatment differences in rat behavior. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 1998. 22(7): p. 1197.

7. Barros, H.M., et al., The effects of GABAergic drugs on grooming behaviour in the open field. Pharmacol Toxicol, 1994. 74(6): p. 339-44.

8. Horvath, T., H.W. Kirby, and A.A. Smith, Rats' heart rate and grooming activity in the open field. J Comp Physiol Psychol, 1971. 76(3): p. 449-53.

9. van Lier, H., A.M. Coenen, and W.H. Drinkenburg, Behavioral transitions modulate hippocampal electroencephalogram correlates of open field behavior in the rat: support for a sensorimotor function of hippocampal rhythmical synchronous activity. J Neurosci, 2003. 23(6): p. 2459-65.

10. Bruhwyler, J., Anxiolytic potential of a microgram dose of chlordiazepoxide in the open-field test. European Journal of Pharmacology, 1990. 187(3): p. 547.

11. Carola, V., et al., Evaluation of the elevated plus-maze and open-field tests for the assessment of anxiety-related behaviour in inbred mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 2002. 134(1-2): p. 49.

12. Gomez, R.E., G. Pirra, and M.A. Cannata, Open field behavior and cardiovascular responses to stress in normal rats. Physiology & Behavior, 1989. 45(4): p. 767.

13. Gonzalez-Burgos, I. and L. Cuevas-Alvarez, Ethological categorization of adult rat motor behavior in an open field. Physiology & Behavior, 1992. 52(6): p. 1207.

14. Igarashi, E. and S. Takeshita, Effects of illumination and handling upon rat open field activity. Physiology & Behavior, 1995. 57(4): p. 699.

15. Kafkafi, N. and G.I. Elmer, Activity density in the open field: a measure for differentiating the effect of psychostimulants. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 2005. 80(2): p. 239.

16. Ossenkopp, K.-P., L. Sorenson, and D.S. Mazmanian, Factor analysis of open-field behavior in the rat (Rattus norvegicus): application of the three-way PARAFAC model to a longitudinal data set. Behavioural Processes, 1994. 31(2-3): p. 129.

17. Paulus, M.P., et al., Behavioral organization is independent of locomotor activity in 129 and C57 mouse strains. Brain Research, 1999. 835(1): p. 27.

18. Stohr, T., et al., Rat strain differences in open-field behavior and the locomotor stimulating and rewarding effects of amphetamine. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 1998. 59(4): p. 813-8.