Mouse Behavioral Testing: How to Use Mice in Behavioral Neuroscience provides detailed explanations of how to conduct an experiment on mouse behavior from the initial planning of the research design through every step of the process until the data analysis phase. The book discusses the practical matters that need to be considered carefully when working with any species of animal, such as how many animals need to be tested. It describes the tests and techniques devised specifically for work with mice. Every step of the research process is illustrated with real situations encountered in previous studies. All examples are based on real experiments, and extensive details of several published experiments are provided. The essential features of a behavioral test protocol are outlined, and several complete protocols are provided. Methods to balance the order of tests and determine throughput are described, then a completely balanced order of tests in a complex experiment is presented. The book will be useful for those already familiar with the general principles of research but are new to the realm of behavioral testing of live mice. It will also serve as a text for a formal course, most likely at the graduate level.

Key Features

  • A guide to running a behavioral testing lab, including the many aspects of mouse research beyond the confines of the specific test
  • Diagrams and photographs are shown for many kinds of apparatus and test situations with sufficient details such as dimensions to enable building of replicas
  • Provides step-by-step instructions on planning and executing behavioral experiments in order to run them successfully
  • A companion website will provide access to statistical utilities in Excel and test protocols, examples of real documents used for published studies, and video clips of the mice behaviors resulting from various tests


Experienced behavioral researchers working with mice, as well as undergraduate and graduate students and postdoc investigators

Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments Chapter 1 Introduction to the Research Process The Research Process: Scientific Aspects Adapting the approach to the stage of an investigation Mice, mice, and more mice Measuring instruments: Tests The formal research design Sample size Ethics approval Logistics Obtaining subjects The test day Prelude to data analysis Data analysis Publishing results The Institutional Context of Research People Facilities Policies Chapter 2 Mice Mice Versus Rats Models of Human Functions Origins of Standard Mouse Strains Kinds of Breeding Schemes Outbred animals Closed colony Inbred strains F1 hybrids Selectively bred lines The Process of Close Inbreeding Inbred Strains for Research Special Genotypes Derived from Inbred Strains Coisogenic strains Congenic strains Consomic strains Conplastic strains Recombinant inbred strains Designer Mice: Transgenic Methods and Targeted Mutations Chapter 3 Tests of Mouse Behavior Popularity of Tests Commercial Devices Exploration Open field Nose poke hole board Symmetrical Y maze Home cage activity Anxiety Lightdark box Elevated plus maze Elevated zero and square mazes Vogel conflict test Geller conflict test Motor Function Ataxia observation Grip strength Balance beam Grid test Rotarod Running wheel Treadmill Learning Operant learning Mazes Spatial memory Electric shock Other Tests Chapter 4 Designs One Group Two Groups


No. of pages:
© 2011
Academic Press
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:

About the author

Douglas Wahlsten

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Psychology University of Alberta Canada