, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 96-102

The effect of eye-like schema on shuttling activity of wild house mice (Mus musculus domesticus ): Context-dependent threatening aspects of the eyespot patterns


The effects of footshock and various light-spot models on the shuttling activity of mice were examined in a passive avoidance situation. It was found that mild footshocks elicited initial exploration followed by an increased tendency to escape from the compartment in which the shocks were administered. An encounter with models, consisting of various numbers of small yellow lights, without footshock did not cause significant differences in shuttling activity. But if the models were paired with footshock, a tendency to explore during the first trial, high readiness to escape, and avoidance learning were found. These were characterized by a temporary increase in number of gate crossings, a decrease in the time spent in the shocked compartment, and a considerable increase in latency to enter the shocked compartment. The most effective model had two horizontally arranged yellow lights, which may share some characteristics with eye-like patterns.