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Curr Zool. 2017 Feb;63(1):109-119. doi: 10.1093/cz/zow070. Epub 2016 Jun 30.

Virtual reality systems for rodents.

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Department Biologie II, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Großhaderner Straße 2, D-82152 Planegg-Martinsried, GermanyBernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Munich, Germany,Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057, Zurich, Switzerland.


Over the last decade virtual reality (VR) setups for rodents have been developed and utilized to investigate the neural foundations of behavior. Such VR systems became very popular since they allow the use of state-of-the-art techniques to measure neural activity in behaving rodents that cannot be easily used with classical behavior setups. Here, we provide an overview of rodent VR technologies and review recent results from related research. We discuss commonalities and differences as well as merits and issues of different approaches. A special focus is given to experimental (behavioral) paradigms in use. Finally we comment on possible use cases that may further exploit the potential of VR in rodent research and hence inspire future studies.


behavioral neuroscience; closed loop; multisensory stimulation; neural coding; sensorimotor integration; spatial navigation.

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