d’Isa, R., Gerlai, R. 2023. Designing animal-friendly behavioral tests for neuroscience research: The importance of an ethological approach. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 16, 1090248.

Behavioral tests have three key elements: (1) a motivating factor (what motivates the animal in the test); (2) an observable behavior (which behaviors we may expect the animal exhibits in response to the test); (3) a measurable outcome (a quantifiable variable associated with the behavioral response). In an ideal animal-friendly behavioral test, the motivating factor should not be painful or stressful. Furthermore, the observable behavior should be natural (i.e., an ethologically relevant species-specific motor or postural pattern). Finally, the outcome variable associated with this behavioral response should be practical to measure in a laboratory setting through a method that is safe for the animals. These are the three main characteristics that a behavioral test should have to be qualified as animal-friendly. Steps for designing animal-friendly behavioral tests are described.

Animal Type