The Open Field Test for Measuring Locomotor Activity and Anxiety-Like Behavior

  • Ann-Katrin Kraeuter
  • Paul C. Guest
  • Zoltán SarnyaiEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1916)


The open field test is used in studies of the neurobiological basis of anxiety and screening for novel drug targets and anxiolytic compounds. This test uses a camera to measure movement of the test animal in the peripheral and central zones of a 42 × 42 × 42 cm polyvinyl chloride box. This chapter describes a protocol for carrying out the open-field test for assessment of locomotion and anxiety-like behavior in mice.

Key words

Open-filed Locomotion Psychiatric disorder Anxiety Behavior 


  1. 1.
  2. 2.
    Prut L, Belzung C (2003) The open field as a paradigm to measure the effects of drugs on anxiety-like behaviors: a review. Eur J Pharmacol 463:3–33CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kalueff AV (2000) Measuring grooming in stress and comfort. Proced Measur Behav 3:148–149Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Adrian CWB, Dunn J, Lai YI, Yachabach TL (1987) CRF-induced excessive grooming behavior in rats and mice. Peptides 8:841–844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Crawley JN (1985) Exploratory behavior models of anxiety in mice. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 9:37–44CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bale TL, Contarino A, Smith GW, Chan R, Gold LH, Sawchenko PE et al (2000) Mice deficient for corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor-2 display anxiety-like behaviour and are hypersensitive to stress. Nat Genet 24:410–414CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Handley SL, Mithani S (1984) Effects of alpha-adrenoceptor agonists and antagonists in a maze-exploration model of ‘fear’-motivated behaviour. Naunyn Schmiedeberg’s Arch Pharmacol 327:1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fernandes C, File SE (1996) The influence of open arm ledges and maze experience in the elevated plus-maze. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 54:31–40CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Belzung C, Misslin R, Vogel E, Dodd RH, Chapouthier G (1987) Anxiogenic effects of methyl-beta-carboline-3-carboxylate in a light/dark choice situation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 28:29–33CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Misslin R, Belzung C, Vogel E (1989) Behavioural validation of a light/dark choice procedure for testing anti-anxiety agents. Behav Process 18:119–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann-Katrin Kraeuter
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul C. Guest
    • 3
  • Zoltán Sarnyai
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Psychiatric Neuroscience, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and MedicineJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Discipline of Biomedicine, College of Public Health, Medicine and Veterinary SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.Laboratory of Neuroproteomics, Department of Biochemistry and Tissue Biology, Institute of BiologyUniversity of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil

Personalised recommendations