Anticipated, Intense Risk Enhances Behavioral Conformity in a Mouse Model

Authors


Abstract

A mouse conformity model was established by contrasting the differences in the time spent navigating a custom-made maze when mice were alone versus when they were in a companion group. Experimental mice received one-trial inhibitory avoidance training by experiencing a foot shock after they arrived at a designated goal box in the maze. In contrast, four mice of the respective companion group received food pellet trainings for rapidly approaching the same goal box. In the retest, mice receiving 0.3-mA shock in the training trial and navigating alone displayed longer arrival latency to the goal box compared with the mice receiving same level of shock in the training trial and navigating along with the companion group. A conformity index was calculated for the arrival latency of the experimental mice receiving the retest alone and the latency of the experimental mice receiving the retest along with the companion group. In the retest, the conformity index progressively increased with the training foot shock level. No difference was noticed in the arrival latency to the goal box or the conformity index between group-navigating experimental mice accompanied by familiar and unfamiliar groups. These results, taken together, indicate that behavioral conformity can be enhanced by an expected, intense risk. Moreover, familiarity with the companion group does not affect the behavioral conformity of an individual. We conclude that species members-shared risk-detecting and risk-coping systems could be critical in motivating behavioral conformity for each member of this species.

Ancillary