Developing standardized behavioral tests for mice

R.E. Brown

Psychology Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

In many strains of genetically altered mice, the most salient changes are those in behavior. We have been developing test batteries for behavioral assays of these transgenic mice. This presentation reviews our test batteries for studying species-typical behavior, learning and memory and behavioral development in mice. Before such tests are conducted, however, background questions about the animals, confounding variables, and experimental design must be considered [1]. A test battery approach allows for the analysis of different types of learning and memory impairments and allows for the analysis of the effects of emotionality and other non-cognitive factors on learning and memory. Data will be presented on (1) the use of the Hebb-Williams maze to study learning and memory in mice and (2) on the analysis of the influence of anxiety and locomotion on object recognition memory, passive avoidance learning and spatial learning tasks. Developmental test batteries can be used for studying the effects of genetic modification on the age at which developmental milestones are reached and the effects of drugs on development. Examples will be given from our studies on the efects of ritalin on development in mice.

Research in this presentation was supported by NSERC of Canada.


  1. Brown, R.E.; Stanford, L.; Schellinck, H.M. (2000). Developing standardized behavioral tests for knockout and inbred mice. The ILAR Journal, 41, 163-174.

Paper presented at Measuring Behavior 2000, 3rd International Conference on Methods and Techniques in Behavioral Research, 15-18 August 2000, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

© 2000 Noldus Information Technology b.v.