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The open field test is about emotionality and locomotion, so automating it requires adaptable zone design and a comprehensive selection of locomotor related results.

Automating the open field test with ANY-maze is straightforward and provides results that would be difficult, if not impossible, to determine with simple observation and hand scoring - see the Benefits tab, below, to learn more.

On the other tabs you'll find videos of open field tests, recommended equipment and a list of results that are especially useful in this test.

Page Intro picture

User defined zones

In ANY-maze you define zones that are specific to how you want to perform tests in your apparatus – nothing’s prescribed.

In this example video, zones have been set up to to score how much time the animal spends in the corners, how much time close to the walls and how much time in the centre of the enclosure.

In fact, for every zone ANY-maze reports more than 60 different measures, so you’ll learn much more than just how long the animal spent in each location.

Going beyond zones

As well as scoring the animal’s behaviour in zones, ANY-maze can also detect things such as:

  • Periods when the animal is immobile – i.e. not moving from place to place
  • Sequences of movements between the different parts of the open field – for example, transitioning across the centre, or walking right round the border.
  • What direction the animal is facing – for example, facing towards the centre or the towards the walls
Going beyond zones picture

Scoring behaviours software can't detect

You may be interested in how much time the animals spend grooming in the open field; however this is a behaviour which software is unable to reliably detect.

To address this you can use keys to score these behaviours; for example, press the key while the animal’s grooming and release it when it stops. ANY-maze will report information such as time spent grooming and the number of grooming bouts, and it will report this separately for each zone.

Scoring behaviours software can't detect picture

Detecting rears

Rearing is another behaviour often scored in the open field but which (we believe) software is unable to reliably detect from top-down video. However, rearing can be detected using an array of photo-beams positioned such that when the animal rears it breaks beams in the array.

We manufacture an array of this type designed specifically for use with ANY-maze – it’s pictured on the right.

When this array is utilised in the open field you’ll get reports for (amongst other things) the number of rears in the different zones you define.

Detecting rears picture

Viewing the animal's track

ANY-maze can plot the animal’s track or as a heat map.

Track plots, like the one on the right, show where the animal went during the test. In this case blue markers have also been included to show where the animal groomed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s evident that the animal spent most of the test near the walls and mainly groomed when in the corners.

Viewing the animal's track picture

Tracking simultaneously in multiple apparatus

Tracking simultaneously in, for example, four open fields is a great way to speed up the throughput in an experiment.

  • Setting up multiple open fields is hardly any more work than setting up one, as most settings are automatically applied across all the apparatus.
  • You can have a single camera for each open field, or you can have multiple open fields viewed by the same camera, or any combination – for example, two cameras each viewing two open fields.
  • Tests in all the apparatus can be run independently, or you can control them together if you prefer.
Tracking simultaneously in multiple apparatus picture

Almost everything can be changed

In ANY-maze you can alter the definition of a zone, a sequence or indeed almost anything else, at any time, whether before, during or after you’ve run your tests.

For example, the size of the centre zone in the open field is somewhat debatable. Some researchers minimise it, while others define it as half of the overall test arena. If you ran an experiment with a small centre zone, but then wanted to see what would change with a larger one, you could simply alter the size, and ANY-maze would immediately re-calculate the results to take this change into account.

 Almost everything can be changed  picture