UNIT 8.11B Fear-Potentiated Startle in Mice

  1. William A. Falls

Published Online: 1 AUG 2002

DOI: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0811bs19

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

How to Cite

Falls, W. A. 2002. Fear-Potentiated Startle in Mice. Current Protocols in Neuroscience. 19:8.11B:8.11B.1–8.11B.16.

Author Information

  1. The University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 AUG 2002
  2. Published Print: APR 2002


Pavlovian fear conditioning is frequently used to assess the behavioral, physiological, genetic and molecular correlates of learning and memory. In the typical Pavlovian conditioned fear procedure a neutral stimulus, such as a tone, is paired with a mildly aversive stimulus such as a foot shock. The tone conditioned stimulus (CS) comes to elicit a variety of behaviors that are indicative of learned fear. One of the more prominent of these behaviors is a potentiated acoustic startle response. While fear-potentiated startle in mice is qualitatively similar to that in rats, the stimulus parameters and procedures for producing optimum fear-potentiated startle in mice differ considerably from those used in rats. Procedures outlined in this unit include initial assessment of startle, fear conditioning and fear-potentiated startle testing. Special attention is paid to the parameters that affect the magnitude of fear-potentiated startle and procedures designed to systematically examine these parameters are included.