A video image analyzing system for open-field behavior in the rat focusing on behavioral asymmetries
Schwarting, Rainer K. W.
Fornaguera Trías, Jaime
Huston, Joseph P.
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A video image analyzing system is presented which measures turning behavior, thigmotactic scanning and locomotion in rats. The system works by analyzing digitized video images obtained by a black/white video camera. Turning behavior is expressed in different diameter classes and as partial or full turns. Thigmotactic scanning is expressed as distance or time locomoted with the left or right side of the body along one of the walls of the testing environment. Locomotion is measured as distance travelled and is expressed in meters. Examples for the application of these behavioral measures are given which include: the measurement of spontaneous or drug-dependent behavioral asymmetries after brain lesion (the unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine model), a unilateral peripheral manipulation (hemivibrissotomy), and the measurement of open-field behavior (spontaneous or drug-induced) in intact animals. Among others, these examples show that the analysis of thigmotactic scanning may provide an alternative behavioral measure,which may be especially useful in the study of functional asymmetries.