UNIT 8.1 Locomotor Behavior

  1. R. Christopher Pierce1,
  2. Peter W. Kalivas2

Published Online: 1 JUL 2007

DOI: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0801s40

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

How to Cite

Pierce, R. C. and Kalivas, P. W. 2007. Locomotor Behavior. Current Protocols in Neuroscience. 40:8.1:8.1.1–8.1.9.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts

  2. 2

    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUL 2007
  2. Published Print: JUL 2007


The study of locomotor activation in rodents does not involve extensive learning or conditioning, and so this dependent measure is often used as the initial screen for pharmacological effects predictive of therapeutic efficacy of a drug class in humans. Methods for evaluating locomotor behavior in rodents fall into two general categories: automated monitoring of behavior and direct observational techniques. This unit presents protocols for measurement of locomotor activity using photocell-based automated monitoring systems, and direct observation using interval and ordinal scales. Other methods used to quantify locomotor activity include video-based systems, rotometers, and running wheels; these are discussed in the commentary. The protocols provided are designed for rats, although they can easily be adapted for use with mice and other rodents. Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. 40:8.1.1-8.1.9. © by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • Photocell;
  • behavior;
  • locomotor;
  • mouse;
  • rat;
  • automated