In all higher organisms, fear is a powerful incentive for learning. In rodents, a number of paradigms ranging from the simple to the more complex have been developed which help to analyze mechanisms and traits of fear behavior and learning. These analyses also help to further our knowledge on depressive behavior, which is characterized by symptoms such as loss of interest or pleasure, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.
The paradigms make use of innate behavioral traits of rodents, such as the tendency to avoid open areas, or well-lit places. They are quantifiable, automatable and have been used successfully to study the effects of anxiolytic drugs, hormones, or other compounds.
- Elevated Plus Maze for anxiety and exploratory behaviour analysis
- Elevated Zero Maze for less ambiguous anxiety-like behaviour analysis
- Hole Board System for analysis of exploratory behavior
- Open Field analysis with tracking systems
- Vogel Test System to investigate anxiolytic drug effects
- Porsolt swim test or behavioural despair test for antidepressant drug effect measurement
- Tail Suspension Monitor as an alternative to the Porsolt swim test