Long-term Sensory Conflict in Freely Behaving Mice

J Vis Exp. 2019 Feb 20:(144). doi: 10.3791/59135.


Long-term sensory conflict protocols are a valuable means of studying motor learning. The presented protocol produces a persistent sensory conflict for experiments aimed at studying long-term learning in mice. By permanently wearing a device fixed on their heads, mice are continuously exposed to a sensory mismatch between visual and vestibular inputs while freely moving in home cages. Therefore, this protocol readily enables the study of the visual system and multisensory interactions over an extended timeframe that would not be accessible otherwise. In addition to lowering the experimental costs of long-term sensory learning in naturally behaving mice, this approach accommodates the combination of in vivo and in vitro experiments. In the reported example, video-oculography is performed to quantify the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) and optokinetic reflex (OKR) before and after learning. Mice exposed to this long-term sensory conflict between visual and vestibular inputs presented a strong VOR gain decrease but exhibited few OKR changes. Detailed steps of device assembly, animal care, and reflex measurements are hereby reported.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology