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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr P Chazot

Ennaceur, A., Hussain, M.D., Abuhamdah, R.M., Mostafa, R.M. & Chazot, P.L. (2017). Slope climbing challenges, fear of heights, anxiety and time of the day. Behavioural Brain Research 316: 169-182.

Author(s) from Durham


When exposed to an unfamiliar open space, animals experience fear and attempt to find an escape route. Anxiety emerges when animals are confronted with a challenging obstacle to this fear motivated escape. High anxiety animals do not take risks; they avoid the challenge. The present experiments investigated this risk avoidant behavior in mice. In experiment 1, BALB/c, C57BL/6J and CD-1 mice were exposed to a large platform with downward inclined steep slopes attached on two opposite sides. The platform was elevated 75 and 100 cm from the ground, in a standard (SPDS) and in a raised (RPDS) configuration, respectively. In experiment 2, the platform was elevated 75 cm from the ground. Mice had to climb onto a stand at the top of upward inclined slopes (SPUS). In experiment 3, BALB/c mice were exposed to SPDS with steep or shallow slopes either in early morning or in late afternoon. In all 3 test configurations, mice spent more time in the areas adjacent to the slopes than in the areas adjacent to void, however only C57BL/6J and CD-1 crossed onto the slopes in SPDS, and crossed onto the stands in SPUS whereas BALB/c remained on the platform in SPDS and explored the slopes in SPUS. Elevation of the platform from the ground reduced the crossings onto the slopes in C57BL/6J and CD-1, and no differences were observed between BALB/c and C57BL/6J. BALB/c mice demonstrated no difference in anxiety when tested early morning or late afternoon; they crossed onto shallow slopes and avoided the steep one.