The defensive burying test is used by researchers to measure an animal’s naturally occurring anxiety-like behaviors toward an aversive stimulus.
When an animal encounters a potentially threatening stimulus, the animal engages in a variety of behaviors to distance themselves from or reduce the risk of interacting with the noxious stimulus. A common behavior that rodents exhibit to reduce the threat of a potentially harmful stimulus is to bury the stimulus; this behavior is referred to as defensive burying. Rodents display this behavior in their natural environments, using their forepaws and heads to shovel available materials (e.g., leaves, bedding) onto or near the noxious object. Scientists have simulated this ethological behavior in the laboratory by exposing the animal to a noxious stimulus and measuring subsequent behaviors. The defensive burying test provides...
- Tsuda, A., Ida, Y., & Tanaka, M. (1988). The contrasting effects of diazepam and yohimbine on conditioned defensive burying in rats. Psychobiology, 16, 213–217.Google Scholar