A Complex Diving-For-Food Task to Investigate Social Organization and Interactions in Rats

Benjamin F. Gruenbaum, Dmitry Frank, Shiri Savir, Honore N. Shiyntum, Ruslan Kuts, Max Vinokur, Israel Melamed, Michael Dubilet, Alexander Zlotnik, Matthew Boyko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


For many species, where status is a vital motivator that can affect health, social hierarchies influence behavior. Social hierarchies that include dominant-submissive relationships are common in both animal and human societies. These relationships can be affected by interactions with others and with their environment, making them difficult to analyze in a controlled study. Rather than a simple dominance hierarchy, this formation has a complicated presentation that allows rats to avoid aggression. Status can be stagnant or mutable, and results in complex societal stratifications. Here we describe a complex diving-for-food task to investigate rodent social hierarchy and behavioral interactions. This animal model may allow us to assess the relationship between a wide range of mental illnesses and social organization, as well as to study the effectiveness of therapy on social dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61763
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number171
StatePublished - 1 May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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