Submit a preprint


The Switchmaze: an open-design device for measuring motivation and drive switching in miceuse asterix (*) to get italics
Clara Hartmann, Ambika Mahajan, Vinicius Borges, Lotte Razenberg, Yves Thönnes, Mahesh M. KarnaniPlease use the format "First name initials family name" as in "Marie S. Curie, Niels H. D. Bohr, Albert Einstein, John R. R. Tolkien, Donna T. Strickland"
<p>Animals need to switch between motivated behaviours, like drinking, feeding or social interaction, to meet environmental availability, internal needs and more complex ethological needs such as hiding future actions from competitors. Inflexible, repetitive behaviours are a hallmark of many neuropsychiatric disorders. However, how the brain orchestrates switching between the neural mechanisms controlling motivated behaviours, or drives, is unknown. This is partly due to a lack of appropriate measurement systems. We designed an automated extended home-cage, the Switchmaze, using open-source hardware and software. In this study, we use it to establish a behavioural assay of motivational switching in mice. Individual animals access the Switchmaze from the home-cage and choose between entering one of two chambers containing different goal objects or returning to the home-cage. Motivational switching is measured as a ratio of switching between chambers and continuous exploitation of one chamber. Behavioural transition analysis is used to further dissect altered motivational switching. As proof-of-concept, we show environmental manipulation, and targeted brain manipulation experiments which altered motivational switching without effect on traditional behavioural parameters. Chemogenetic inhibition of the prefrontal-hypothalamic axis increased the rate of motivation switching, highlighting the involvement of this pathway in drive switching. This work demonstrates the utility of open-design in understanding animal behaviour and its neural correlates.</p> should fill this box only if you chose 'All or part of the results presented in this preprint are based on data'. URL must start with http:// or https:// should fill this box only if you chose 'Scripts were used to obtain or analyze the results'. URL must start with http:// or https:// should fill this box only if you chose 'Codes have been used in this study'. URL must start with http:// or https://
motivation, switching, feeding, mouse, automated behavioral recording
NonePlease indicate the methods that may require specialised expertise during the peer review process (use a comma to separate various required expertises).
Behavioral/Cognitive Neuroscience, Methods development, Rodent model system
Eric Burguire, Andre Chagas, Tim Murphy, Andrew MacAskill, Jonny Saunders, Thomas Akam, Julija Krupic, Ewelina Knapska, Balasz Hangya, David Wolfer, Alexxai Kravitz, Andreas Schaefer, David Redish, Julia Harris, Ede Rancz, Vitor Lopes dos Santos [] suggested: Andressa Radiske (, Vitor Lopes dos Santos [] suggested: Stephen McHugh ( No need for them to be recommenders of PCI Neuro. Please do not suggest reviewers for whom there might be a conflict of interest. Reviewers are not allowed to review preprints written by close colleagues (with whom they have published in the last four years, with whom they have received joint funding in the last four years, or with whom they are currently writing a manuscript, or submitting a grant proposal), or by family members, friends, or anyone for whom bias might affect the nature of the review - see the code of conduct
e.g. John Doe []
2024-02-13 18:58:48
Balázs Hangya