Animal Behavior testing

Example picture of an rat port
Example of an rat port

Ports are commonly used in experiments on animal behaviour. Several different port systems and designs exist and ports can feature visual, auditory or olfactorial stimuli or provide rewards such as water or food for the correct behavior. It is important that the port design (shape, size, position of sensors etc) and the material (color, hardness, odor and/or surface smoothness) are adapted to the experimental goals and the used animals. Port entries and exits can, for example, be monitored via an infrared beam (photo interrupter sensors). Visual or auditory cues can be integrated in the port or adjacent to it. 


In addition we would be happy to build other stimulus and response devices or dispensers according to your specifications, e.g. stimulus lights, response levers and keys, nose poke, response wheels, liquid and pellet dispenser and receptacle. Modular operant chambers, mazes, and cubicles to attenuate sound or electrical noise isolation can be build. We can develop and build all hardware and software needed to enable scientists to do exactly the experiment they want and guarantee long-term customer support incl. the availability of replacement parts and modifications of the original set-up/devices at reduced prices. 


Please contact us if you require specific information about our technical ability to provide tools for behavior experiments and associated costs or if you are looking for other technical solutions for your facility. Some interesting tools such as open operant chambers are available as open hardware. 

Count us out! Vienna Scientific Instruments does not develop, build or supply equipment which will be used in consumptive experimentation on vertebrates and does not provide equipment such as electrical stimuli (shockers) / "classical" Skinner boxes!

Selected readings on How Ports, Cues and DISPENSERS can be used in behavioral experiments

  • Devarakonda, K., K. P. Nguyen, and A. V. Kravitz. 2016. ROBucket: A low cost operant chamber based on the Arduino microcontroller. Behavior Research Methods 48:503-509.
  • Duan, C. A., J. C. Erlich, and C. D. Brody. 2015. Requirement of prefrontal and midbrain regions for rapid executive control of behavior in the rat. Neuron 86:1491-1503.
  • Márquez, C., S. M. Rennie, D. F. Costa, and M. A. Moita. 2015. Prosocial choice in rats depends on food-seeking behavior displayed by recipients. Current Biology 25:1736-1745.
  • Nguyen, K. P., T. J. O’Neal, O. A. Bolonduro, E. White, and A. V. Kravitz. 2016. Feeding Experimentation Device (FED): A flexible open-source device for measuring feeding behavior. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 267:108-114.
  • Rivalan, M., H. Munawar, A. Fuchs, and Y. Winter. 2017. An Automated, Experimenter-Free Method for the Standardised, Operant Cognitive Testing of Rats. PLoS ONE 12:e0169476.
  • Steinberg, E. E., R. Keiflin, J. R. Boivin, I. B. Witten, K. Deisseroth, and P. H. Janak. 2013. A causal link between prediction errors, dopamine neurons and learning. Nature neuroscience 16:966-973.