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Rodent Behavior Approaches

Rodent Behavior Approaches

Overview of Rodent Behavior Approaches

The rodent behavior approach is one of the behavioral testing, which extensively used to study more about the central nervous system (CNS), to find treatments for its diseases, and to evaluate the cognitive effects of new CNS drugs in the preclinical test.

For many years, model organisms are widely used to study biological phenomena, in which the human species cannot be used. The discoveries made in the model organism are expected to provide insight into the workings of human beings. Rodents, especially mice and rats, have been the most used models in biomedical research for over a century. They are also the most used animal models in behavioral neuroscience research, as they display a variety of behaviors relevant to human disease and are easy to house and breed.

Since the first knockout mouse reporting in 1987, the techniques of genetically manipulated mice were more and more available. Accordingly, mice are becoming an important model of choice in biomedical science. As a matter of fact, the proportion of behavioral neuroscience-related research using mice has been up to 50%, which prominently increased in the last two decades. Rodents now are used in a wide variety of behavioral tests, such as tests of basic locomotor function, behavior related to cognitional and emotional abilities and other unique features.

Tests of Rodent Behavior Approaches

  • Morris water maze (MWM)
  • Research of learning and memory is important to the study of neurological disorders with cognitive components like Alzheimer's disease. MWM is a test used by ethologists and neurobiologists to evaluate and compare the ability of learning and memory in rodents. The apparatus consists of a tank filled with water and an underwater hidden escape platform. When a rodent is placed in the tank, it will search the platform to escape the tank. In this maze, the rodent can learn to locate the platform with repeated tests.

  • Radial arm maze (RAM)
  • RAM is a test to evaluate spatial learning and working memory in rodents. The RAM apparatus consists of a central platform and eight arms surrounded. When a rodent is placed on the central platform, it will explore the maze for food placed at the end of the arms. The amount of time that rodent consumes all the food and the number of errors it made are observed to evaluate the rodent.

Schematic diagram of RAM. Fig.1 Schematic diagram of RAM. (Baker, 2015)

  • Novel object recognition (NOR)
  • NOR is a form of memory test to evaluate the effect of disease or drug on short-term memory, intermediate-term memory, and long-term memory. After a rodent have been trained to recognize certain objects, researchers record the amount of time the rodent used to investigate novel object relative to the familiar one. In one research NOR experiments are used to study the effect of high-salt diets on mouse cognition.

The NOR task. Fig.2 The NOR task. (Mclagan, 2019)

  • Fear conditioning test
  • The contextual and cued fear conditioning test is to evaluate associative fear learning and memory in rodents. In the test, rodents are trained to associate a context or cue with an unconditioned fear stimulus. When the rodent is exposed to the context or cue associated with the aversive stimulus, it will demonstrate freezing behavior.

  • Social behavior test
  • Social behavior test is commonly used to the study of autism, depression, and aggressive behaviors. The amount of time that a rodent spends investigating a novel rodent is to compare with the time it faces an empty container. A normal rodent should spend more time investigating a novel rodent. In one research, the social behavior of the mouse was examined with social novelty tests to investigate the roles of the gut microbiome in mouse models of autism.

Creative Biolabs is a professional provider for neuroscience research and rodent models, and we can provide a wide range of products and custom services in these fields. With our rodent behavioral research platform, we have great potential to accelerate your research.

For more detailed information, please feel free to contact us for detailed information.


  1. Baker, P. M.; et al. Ongoing behavioral state information signaled in the lateral habenula guides choice flexibility in freely moving rats. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 2015, 9(2): 1-7.
  2. Mclagan, A.N.; Hales, J.B. Displaced object recognition memory in rats. Bio-protocol. 2019, 9(8).
For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.
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