Intellicage Place Learning and Cue Discrimination Experiments

The Intellicage is an automated testing chamber used to test cognitive ability of socially housed mice. The Intellicage allows for sensitive behavioral testing of cognitive, sensorimotor, and locomotor ability. Automated Chambers have several advantages to classical test design. It allows for high-throughput testing in a socially enriched environment, with up to 15 animals tested in a chamber. Also, the computer software conducts all tests without any experimenter manipulation required. Two major benefits of automated chambers are 1) it saves the experimenter time, and 2) it minimizes the handling of the animals.

Two examples of experiments that can be run in the Intellicage are Place Learning and Cue Discrimination. Place Learning is a cognitive test that measures the animals ability to learn that water is only available in a specific location in the cage. Reversals of the place are effective at testing flexibility of learning a new place, while probe trials are effective at testing the animals long term memory. Cue Discrimination is another test that can be used to measure cognitive and sensorimotor abilities. animals are forced to discriminate between cues to gain access to water and avoid an air-puff punishment. These protocols are particularly well suited to test animal transgenic as well as pharmacological mice models.