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University of Alaska Fairbanks

Behavioral Neuroscience: Contrasting Tests for Anxiety and Depression

University of Alaska Fairbanks via edX


This online course on behavioral neuroscience goes more in-depth on scientific research, in mice and humans, related to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Studying the human brain can be difficult, so neuroscientists often first use mice in research because of the similarities in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurobiology. Explore the study of neuroscience through enrollment in this course and:

  • Learn how to critically evaluate the use of different behavioral tests for anxiety and depression in laboratory mice.

  • Evaluate how different behavioral tests can affect the interpretation of results.

  • Collect behavioral data from mouse videos from compulsive-like, non-compulsive-like, and randomly bred mouse strains; a mouse model of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

  • Develop an ability to analyze behavioral data and be proficient in the visualization of these data.

  • Develop an ability to interpret and discuss results in the context of human psychiatric disorders and human behavior and the mouse model of OCD.

  • Obtain a competency in describing key characteristics of anxiety and depression in humans and in animal models.

  • Develop an ability to compare and contrast compulsive-like, anxiety-like, and depression-like behaviors in mice to equivalent human behaviors.

  • Develop a capability to formulate original research hypotheses.

  • Obtain a competency in describing and discussing how basic research, as performed in this certificate program, contributes to the animal model of OCD and how it may have the potential to contribute to a better understanding of mental health, behavioral health and improving healthcare, quality of life and well-being and the biological basis of human behavior. This certificate program also will enhance your personal development and your professional development.

Learners who join this course should be free of objections to using mice in research.


  • Module 1: Introduction, Anxiety: Background - elevated zero maze test
  • Module 2: Anxiety: Data Collection and Analysis
  • Module 3: Depression: Background - forced swim test
  • Module 4: Depression: Data Collection and Analysis
  • Module 5: Interpretation of results

Taught by

Abel Bult-Ito


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