Build a better mouse task: can an open-source rodent joystick enhance reaching behavior outcomes through improved monitoring of real-time spatiotemporal kinematics? [article]

Parley Belsey, Mark A Nicholas, Eric A Yttri
2019 bioRxiv   pre-print
For decades, advanced behavioral tasks have only been used in human and non-human primates. However, with improved analytical and genetic techniques, there has been a growing drive to implement complex reaching, decision-making, and reaction time tasks not in primates, but in rodents. Here, we assess the hypothesis that a mouse can learn a cued reaction time task. Moreover, we tested multiple training regimens and found that introducing elements of the reaction time task serially hindered,
more » ... r than helped task acquisition. Additionally, we include a step-by-step manual for inexpensive implementation and use of a rodent joystick for behavioral analysis. Task and analysis code for the evaluated behaviors are included such that they may be replicated and tested further. With these, we also include code for a probabilistic reward "two-arm bandit" task. These various tasks, and the method to construct and implement them, will enable greatly improved study of the neural correlates of behavior in the powerful mouse model organism. In summary, we have tested and demonstrated that mice can learn sophisticated tasks with A joystick, and that targeted task design provides a significant advantage. These results of this study stand to inform the implementation of other sophisticated tasks using the mouse model.
doi:10.1101/560961 fatcat:nb2qkkw6evbxth3x4vszk4o5we