This book presents the essentials of behavioral test methodology needed for effective study planning and high quality behavioral data collection on laboratory mice. The broad scope of behavioral testing in relation to the neurosciences is discussed, as are the fine details of various test situations. Mistakes made in past research are scrutinized and lessons are drawn about how to avoid them in future work. Diverse factors that can influence the results of behavioral experiments are discussed, ranging from the specific parameters employed in a test to the laboratory environment outside the test situation itself. Throughout the book, emphasis is placed on special issues that arise when testing genetically different mice, including inbred strains and mice with targeted mutations. This knowledge will assist an investigator who lacks formal training in behavioral psychology to build a behavioral testing lab and insure that its output meets current standards of good practice in behavioral neuroscience research.
The book will be a convenient manual of procedures for daily use in studies of mouse behavior. It will be of interest even to experienced behavioural researchers, but of particular value to scientists just beginning work with mice, including undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral investigators who want to collect phenotypic data with knockout and other genetically defined mice. Constructed from materials used in a long running course on Advanced Animal Behavior at University of North Carolina-Greensboro, the book is an ideal text for a course on behavioral testing.
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Mouse Behavioral Testing: How to Use Mice in Behavioral Neuroscience provides detailed explanations of how to conduct an experiment on mouse behavior from the initial planning of the research design through every step of the process until the data analysis phase.
The book discusses the practical matters that need to be considered carefully when working with any species of animal, such as how many animals need to be tested. It describes the tests and techniques devised specifically for work with mice. Every step of the research process is illustrated with real situations encountered in previous studies. All examples are based on real experiments, and extensive details of several published experiments are provided. The essential features of a behavioral test protocol are outlined, and several complete protocols are provided. Methods to balance the order of tests and determine throughput are described, then a completely balanced order of tests in a complex experiment is presented.
The book will be useful for those already familiar with the general principles of research but are new to the realm of behavioral testing of live mice. It will also serve as a text for a formal course, most likely at the graduate level.
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