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Slope climbing challenges, fear of heights, anxiety and time of the day.

Ennaceur, A. and Hussain, M.D. and Abuhamdah, R.M. and Mostafa, R.M. and Chazot, P.L. (2017) 'Slope climbing challenges, fear of heights, anxiety and time of the day.', Behavioural brain research., 316 . pp. 169-182.


When exposed to an unfamiliar open space, animals experience fear and attempt to find an escape route. Anxiety emerges when animals are confronted with a challenging obstacle to this fear motivated escape. High anxiety animals do not take risks; they avoid the challenge. The present experiments investigated this risk avoidant behavior in mice. In experiment 1, BALB/c, C57BL/6J and CD-1 mice were exposed to a large platform with downward inclined steep slopes attached on two opposite sides. The platform was elevated 75 and 100 cm from the ground, in a standard (SPDS) and in a raised (RPDS) configuration, respectively. In experiment 2, the platform was elevated 75 cm from the ground. Mice had to climb onto a stand at the top of upward inclined slopes (SPUS). In experiment 3, BALB/c mice were exposed to SPDS with steep or shallow slopes either in early morning or in late afternoon. In all 3 test configurations, mice spent more time in the areas adjacent to the slopes than in the areas adjacent to void, however only C57BL/6J and CD-1 crossed onto the slopes in SPDS, and crossed onto the stands in SPUS whereas BALB/c remained on the platform in SPDS and explored the slopes in SPUS. Elevation of the platform from the ground reduced the crossings onto the slopes in C57BL/6J and CD-1, and no differences were observed between BALB/c and C57BL/6J. BALB/c mice demonstrated no difference in anxiety when tested early morning or late afternoon; they crossed onto shallow slopes and avoided the steep one.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2016 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:03 September 2016
Date deposited:09 September 2016
Date of first online publication:05 September 2016
Date first made open access:05 September 2017

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