, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 285-293

Habituation of Activity in an Open Field: A Survey of Inbred Strains and F1 Hybrids

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To determine if there is genetic variability in habituation of activity in an open field, we examined a number of inbred strains and F1 hybrids. Using 5-min exposures to a dark open field, we measured changes in exploratory behavior over 3 consecutive days in 129S3/SvImJ, A/J, BALB/ cByJ, C3H/HeJ, C57BL/6J, CBA/J, DBA/2J, FVB/NJ, (B6 × 129)F1/J, and (B6 × C3H) F1/J male and female mice. Strain differences in open-field activity and in habituation were evident. Some of the strain differences were further modified by sex. The strains and F1's could be separated into groups that increased, decreased, or did not modify their activities across testing sessions. In a second study, the effects of altering the floor surface on habituation were examined in male 129S3/SvImJ, C57BL/6J, DBA/2J, and (B6 × 129)F1/J mice. When the floor was altered after 3 consecutive days of habituation, increased activity levels were evident. There were strain differences in the responsiveness to the changes in the floor. These results confirm a genetic role in intersession habituation to an open field.