The standard zero plus maze is a variation of the elevated plus maze used to assess anxiety-like behavior in small laboratory animals (rat/mice).
In this task, the conflict between the innate fear that rodents have of open areas versus their desire to explore novel environments is exploited. Security is provided by the closed arms whereas the open arms offer exploratory value. When anxious, the natural tendency of rodents is to prefer enclosed dark spaces to opened brightly lit spaces. In this context, anxiety-related behavior is measured by the degree to which the rodent avoids the unenclosed areas of the maze.
The Panlab zero maze is a cycling corridor elevated above the floor and provided with two open areas and two closed areas. The maze is made of odour-resistant black perpex material with no-reflective colour for eliminating any glare.
The elevated zero maze can be used with a video tracking system such as the Panlab SMART video-tracking software. The maze is provided with a set of gray floor for optimizing the detection of darker animals in this context.