Rodents are a useful tool in neuroscience and allow researchers to conduct a variety of studies, but there are a variety of different strains of animals and without knowing the baseline behaviors and characteristics, experimental results can be exaggerated or inflated. The present study aimed to determine the difference between the SHR (a model of ADHD), SD (a standard control), and WKY (a possible model of depressive-like behavior) rodent strains under control conditions. This experiment is important as the WKY was often used as a control for the SHR before characterizing it as a possible depressive model. The open field was used to measure activity and the Morris water maze was used to assess learning and memory. Results showed a significant difference in the open field and Morris water maze when comparing the different strains. In the open field, SHR moved more in the maze and spent more time in the center when compared to the WKY and SD. SD moved more than WKY but spent the same time in the edge and center as the WKY. In the Morris water maze, the SHR and SD did not differ in learning or search strategy. However, the WKY had a longer latency and show no preference for the target quadrant when compared to the other strains. Thus, in these three stains there is a significant difference in activity and in learning which indicates the importance of being aware of baseline characteristics.


Stavnezer, Amy Jo




Animal Studies | Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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