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Active Avoidance


Conditioned avoidance response; One-/two-way active avoidance


Active avoidance refers to experimental behavioral paradigms where subjects (mainly rodents) are trained, following the onset of a conditioned stimulus (CS), to move from a starting position to another position in the testing apparatus within a fixed amount of time (avoidance). Failure to move within the given time frame results in the onset of a negative reinforcer, usually a weak electric shock in a grid floor, until a correct move is performed (escape). In animals performing at a high level of correct response following training, drugs that are effective as antipsychotics, but not other classes of drugs, show a unique ability to selectively suppress the avoidance behavior, within a clinically relevant dose range, while leaving escape behavior intact. Because of this robust marker for the prediction of antipsychotic activity, the active avoidance test is primarily used and considered