The elevated gradient of aversion: a new apparatus to study the rat behavior dimensions of anxiety, fear, and impulsivity
Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
Few behavioral tests allow measuring several characteristics and most require training, complex analyses, and/or are timeconsuming. We present an apparatus based on rat exploratory behavior. Composed of three different environments, it allows the assessment of more than one behavioral characteristic in a short 3-min session. Factorial analyses have defined three behavioral dimensions, which we named Exploration, Impulsivity, and Self-protection. Behaviors composing the Exploration factor were
... creased by chlordiazepoxide and apomorphine and decreased by pentylenetetrazole. Behaviors composing the Impulsivity factor were increased by chlordiazepoxide, apomorphine, and both acute and chronic imipramine treatments. Behaviors composing the Self-protection factor were decreased by apomorphine. We submitted Wistar rats to the open-field test, the elevated-plus maze, and to the apparatus we are proposing. Measures related to exploratory behavior in all three tests were correlated. Measures composing the factors Impulsivity and Self-protection did not correlate with any measures from the two standard tests. Also, compared with existing impulsivity tests, the one we proposed did not require previous learning, training, or sophisticated analysis. Exploration measures from our test are as easy to obtain as the ones from other standard tests. Thus, we have proposed an apparatus that measured three different behavioral characteristics, was simple and fast, did not require subjects to be submitted to previous learning or training, was sensitive to drug treatments, and did not require sophisticated data analyses.