In response to the increasing demand for refined techniques to record drug induced changes in motor activity we have designed and evaluated against observations an automatic test box that quantifies eight defined components of behaviour in rats. Activity, corresponding to the recordings from the commonly used photocell activity boxes. Total, and forward locomotion, expressing the actual distance the rat walks. Corner count, and corner time, reflecting the position of the animal in the box. Hole count, and hole time, expressing the reaction of the rat to an environmental stimulus i.e. holes in the bottom of the test box. Gnawing, which is a direct counting of the number of gnaws made by the animal. The recording parameters relate to our own interest in behaviour influenced by monoamine neurotransmission and the result shows that the selected parameters are recorded with high reliability. © 1978.
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