High novelty seeking is a complex personality attribute correlated with risk for substance abuse. There are many putative mouse models of some aspects of novelty seeking, but little is known of genetic similarities among these models. To assess the genetic coherence of "novelty seeking," we compared the performance of 14 inbred strains of mice in five tests: activity in a novel environment, novel environment preference, head dipping on a hole-board, object preference, and a two-trial version of the spontaneous alternation task. Differences among strains were observed for all tasks, but performance in any given task was generally not predictive of performance in any other. To evaluate similarities among these tasks further, we selectively bred lines of mice for high or low head dipping on the hole-board. Similar to results from the inbred strain experiments, head dipping was not correlated with performance in the other measures but was genetically correlated with differences in locomotor activity. Using two approaches to estimating common genetic influences across tasks, we have found little evidence that these partial models of novelty seeking reflect the influence of common genes or measure a single, unified construct called novelty seeking. Based on the substantial influence of genetic factors, ease of implementation, and relative independence from general locomotion, head dipping on a hole-board is a good task to use in the domain of novelty seeking, but multiple tasks, including others not tested here, would be needed to capture the full genetic range of the behavioral domain.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 28 2006|
- Drug abuse
- Inbred strains
ASJC Scopus subject areas