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Detection of a temporal structure in the rat behavioural response to an aversive stimulation in the emotional object recognition (EOR) task

  • Autori: Casarrubea, Maurizio; Palacino, Manfredi; Brancato, Anna; Lavanco, Gianluca; Cannizzaro, Carla; Crescimanno, Giuseppe
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2021
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Aim of the research was to investigate whether a temporal structure could be detected in the behavioural response to an aversive stimulation. A fear-related memory task was used in rats, placed in a modified version of the Novel Object Recognition task known as Emotional Object Recognition task, i.e. a behavioural assay that orbits around the declarative memory for an aversive experience. To this purpose, twelve male Wistar rats, divided in two groups (Control and Aversive memory), observed after 4 h (OR4h) and after 24 h (OR24h) from the delivery of an aversive stimulation, associated to a specific object, were used. Data were evaluated both in terms of conventional quantitative approaches and by means of T-pattern analysis, namely a multivariate technique able to unveil the temporal structure of behaviour and the relationships amongst the behavioural items in time. Results evidenced several changes between groups and over time as well. Mean occurrences and mean durations showed significant differences between OR4h and OR24h sessions and between Control and Aversive memory groups for behavioural items of Exploration, Object-related aversion and Immobility. T-pattern analysis revealed important changes of behavioural variability, complexity and repetitiveness, (i.e., the three main qualitative features of T-patterns) in the Aversive memory group. These outcomes highlight a simpler and linear behavioural profile, focused only on specific sequences of particularly repetitive events. Overall, the present study demonstrates a) the presence of a temporal organization of fear-related behavioural events and b) the influence of learning on the modifications observed over time.