Darting behavior: A quantitative movement pattern designed for discrimination and replicability in mouse locomotor behavior

Neri Kafkafi*, Michal Pagis, Dina Lipkind, Cheryl L. Mayo, Yoav Bemjamini, Ilan Golani, Gregory I. Elmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


In the open-field behavior of rodents, Software for Exploring Exploration (SEE) can be used for an explicit design of behavioral endpoints with high genotype discrimination and replicability across laboratories. This ability is demonstrated here in the development of a measure for darting behavior. The behavior of two common mouse inbred strains, C57BL/6J (B6) and DBA/2J (D2), was analyzed across three different laboratories, and under the effect of cocaine or amphetamine. "Darting" was defined as having higher acceleration during progression segments while moving less during stops. D2 mice darted significantly more than B6 mice in each laboratory, despite being significantly less active. These differences were maintained following cocaine administration (up to 20mg/kg) and only slightly altered by amphetamine (up to 5mg/kg) despite a several fold increase in activity. The replicability of darting behavior was confirmed in additional experiments distinct from those used for its design. The strategy leading to the darting measure may be used to develop additional discriminative and replicable endpoints of open-field behavior.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)193-205
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 16 Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The SEE software is available from the authors upon request, but requires the Mathematica™ programming environment by Wolfram Research, Inc. Simpler stand-alone programs for smoothing, segmentation and calculation of DART as well as additional endpoints are also available. We thank Noldus Information Technology for the use of their EthoVision ® in Tel Aviv University. This research is supported by NIH Grant #1 R01 NS40234-01.


  • Amphetamine
  • C57BL/6
  • Cocaine
  • DBA/2
  • Exploratory behavior
  • Inbred strains
  • Locomotor behavior
  • Open-field behavior
  • SEE


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