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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1981 Oct;15(4):619-26.

Conditioned defensive burying: a new paradigm for the study of anxiolytic agents.


Behavioral paradigms that have been designed to mimic forms of learning that are important for the survival of animals in the wild, rather than to minimize the contributions of adaptive predispositions, may prove to be particularly useful for studying the behavioral effects of drugs. In the present experiments, the propensity of rats to bury sources of aversive stimulation was disrupted in a dose-dependent fashion by a single injection of the anxiolytic drug, diazepam. This suggested that the conditioned defensive burying paradigm could prove to be a valuable addition to the paradigms available for studying anxiolytic effects. Supporting this view were two additional observations. First, the relative potencies of diazepam, chlordiazepoxide, and pentobarbital in the burying paradigm compared favorably with their relative potencies in clinical settings. Second, the effects of anxiolytics on conditioned burying appeared to be dissociable from the effects of other drugs that disrupt this behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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