Passive avoidance test

Related Panlab Integrated Solutions


Passive avoidance is fear-motivated tests classically used to assess short-term or long-term memory on small laboratory animals (rat, mice).

Passive avoidance paradigm requires the subjects to behave contrary to their innate tendencies for preference of dark areas and avoidance of bright ones. The apparatus chamber used in this test is composed by a black poorly illuminated compartment and a white illuminated compartment. 

- Acquisition/conditioning phase

During the acquisition/conditioning phase the animal is placed in the white compartment. When the animal innately crosses to the black compartment it receives a mild foot shock. Thus, during the initial phase the animal learns that the moving to the dark compartment has negative consequences. 

- Test phase

During the test phase the animal is again placed in the white compartment and the passive avoidance response is evaluated. As opposed to an avoidance that entails active movement to avoid an aversive stimulus, the avoidance of the dark compartment requires the animal to remain in the white compartment and, therefore, the absence of movement; namely passive avoidance response. 

Memory performance is positively correlated with the latency to escape from the white compartment; the better the recollection, the greater the latency. 

The Passive Avoidance task is useful for evaluating the effect of novel chemical entities on learning and memory as well as studying the mechanisms involved in cognition.


Related Panlab Integrated Solutions

PASSIVE BOX (Panlab) + SHUTAVOID - (n) subjects

Recommended when the user would like to run several passive avoidance tests at the same time. 


SHUTTLE BOX (Panlab) + SHUTAVOID - (n) subjects

Recommended when the user would like to run several passive avoidance tests at the same time and to use the same box for active and passive avoidance tests.


SHUTTLE BOX (Panlab) + PACKWIN – customizable solution

Only for specific request needing higher protocol configuration flexibility than standard solutions described above. This option allows (1) the control of the stimuli and shock independently from the animal position and (2) free data report edition. Ask for more details.



Reasons for choosing this test

  • Quick procedure for studying short- and long-term memory
  • Contextual memory: Hippocampus dependent 
  • Fear conditioning emotional memory: Amigdala dependent
  • Involves animal inhibiting its behavior in order to avoid shock (different from active avoidance procedure)
  • Ideal test for first screening
  • Simple to set up and use
  • Does not require prior food deprivation
  • Sensitive for both rats and mice


Reasons for not choosing this test

  • Requires footshock administration (stressful)
  • The test cannot easily distinguish hippocampus-dependent contextual memory and amygdala-dependent emotional memory


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