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Useful Tools
1. The Open Field Test
The open field test (OFT) is a common measure of exploratory behavior and general activity in both mice and rats, where both the quality and quantity of the activity can be measured. Principally, the open field (OF) is an enclosure, generally square, rectangular, or circular in shape with surrounding walls that prevent escape. The most basic and common outcome of interest is “movement”; however, this can be influenced by motor output, exploratory drive, freezing or other fear-related behavior, sickness, relative time in circadian cycle, among many other variables. Distance moved, time spent moving, rearing, and change in activity over time are among many measures that can be tabulated and reported. Some outcomes, particularly defecation, center time, and activity within the first 5 minutes, likely gauge some aspects of emotionality including anxiety. The OFT is also commonly used as a mechanism to assess the sedative, toxic, or stimulant effects of compounds. Thus, the OFT measures a number of facets of behavior beyond simple locomotion. As such, the test has a number of uses and is included in almost every thorough analysis of rodent behavior.
Affiliation(s): (1) Department of Psychiatry MSTF; Rm934D, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 685 W. Baltimore Street, 21201 Baltimore, MD, USA
(2) Department of Psychiatry, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
Series: Neuromethods  |  Volume: 42  |  Pub. Date: Oct-05-2009  |  Page Range: 1-20  |  DOI: 10.1007/978-1-60761-303-9_1
Subject:  Neuroscience
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