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Overview of Behavioral Tests in Mice


Function tested

Open field test

Locomotor activity, anxiety and habituation


Motor coordination, balance, ataxia

Hindpaw footprint

Motor coordination, balance, ataxia

Acoustic startle and prepulse inhibition

Test of hearing as well as hippocampal function

Morris water task

Spatial learning

Acetic acid test, formalin test, hot plate test, foot shock test, tail flick test, tail pressure test

Pain tolerance

Contextual and cued fear conditioning

Memory skills, fear levels

Dark/light avoidance; passive/active avoidance test; elevated maze (plus or zero)


Direct observation or resident intruder tests – time taken to initiate first attack


Forced swim test – increased time floating or not moving

Indication of behavioral despair.