As neuroscience methods continue to improve by leaps and bounds, researchers are starting to dissect behavior on a molecular level. These types of experiments call for highly defined, repeatable behavioral assays, something that’s not always easy to establish. As author Carol Ann Paul and colleagues note, “The behavioral approach to solving neuroscience questions, unlike cellular and molecular approaches, is difficult to define and is therefore sometimes considered a less-disciplined approach. Methods describing behavioral procedures are often thought to be crude when compared to the precision of physiological or molecular methods.” This month CSH Protocols presents a series of rat behavioral protocols to address these issues.

This set of protocols strives for a high degree of precision and thorough documentation. Sample data log sheets are supplied as supplemental data to provide guidelines for recording results. The set of articles are as follows:
Observational Methods Used to Assess Rat Behavior:
General Principles
Behavioral Patterns
General Activity
Neurological Testing

More and more labs are generating their own behavioral assays and we encourage you to submit yours for publication. Barry Condron’s lab at the University of Virginia published their assay for Behavioral Stress in Drosophila a few months back, and next month, October’s issue will have more Drosophila material.