University of Alaska Fairbanks: Behavioral Neuroscience: Foundations of Compulsive Behaviors
Enroll in the first MOOC to teach behavioral neuroscience research using laboratory mice. In this self-paced, free online course, you will learn responsible conduct of research and how to collect scientific data using two different tests that measure compulsions, and interpret and discuss the results in the context of obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans.
Behavioral Neuroscience: Foundations of Compulsive Behaviors
About this courseSkip About this course
The study of neuroscience aims to understand the human brain, cognition, the nervous system, and much more. There are many branches of neuroscience, including medical neuroscience, computational neuroscience, and behavioral neuroscience. Studying the human brain can be difficult, so scientists often first use mice in research because of the similarities in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurobiology. By studying the brains of mice, we gain insight into how the human brain works. This behavioral neuroscience course on edx covers the fundamentals of research involving mice, mice behavior and how it can be used to understand human behavior, and more. Enroll now to:
Understand how to handle laboratory mice responsibly according to federal law by completing animals care and use training.
Understand how research on animals must be scientifically justified, humane and ethical, use appropriate research methods, and provide new knowledge.
Collect behavioral data from mouse videos from compulsive-like, non-compulsive-like, and randomly bred mouse strains; a mouse model of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Obtain competency in using behavioral tests to measure repetitive behaviors in laboratory mice analogous to compulsions in humans.
Establish a foundation in using behavioral tests in laboratory mice to be able to confidently learn how to use new tests.
Develop an ability to analyze behavioral neuroscience data using mice and understand repetitive (compulsive-like) behaviors in animal models.
Develop an ability to interpret and discuss results in the context of human behavior, and especially psychiatric disorders, and the mouse model of OCD.
Obtain a competency in describing key characteristics of OCD in humans and human behavior as described in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM), including obsessive and intrusive thoughts, repetitive behaviors, and hoarding disorder.
Develop a capability to formulate original research hypotheses as used in the fields of behavioral sciences, neuropsychology, and behavioral neuroscience.
Obtain a competency in describing and discussing how basic research contributes to the animal model of OCD and how it may have the potential to improve human mental health conditions, quality of life and the biological basis of human behavior.
Learners who join this course should be free of objections to using mice in research.
At a glance
- Language: English
- Video Transcript: English
- Associated skills: Animal Care, Mental Health, Neuropsychology, Neuroanatomy, Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Research Methodologies, Research, Neurophysiology, Neurobiology, Behavioral Science, Animal Models, Cognitive Processing, Neuroscience, Computational Neuroscience, Basic Research, Biology
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
Learn responsible conduct of research.
Collect, analyze, and interpret behavioral data from mouse videos.
Establish a foundation in using behavioral tests in laboratory mice.
Understand obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans and compulsions in animals.
Understand the role of animal models in studying human psychiatry.
Module 1: Introduction, Animal Care and Use Training
Module 2: Ethics of Animal Research
Module 3: OCD in humans and compulsive like behavior in mice (nesting)
Module 4: Compulsive-like behavior: Data collection and analysis of marble burying behavior
Module 5: Interpretation of results
Frequently Asked QuestionsSkip Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I need to take any neuroscience courses before I enroll in this course? Will this course teach me the fundamentals of neuroscience?
A: This course, while at the introductory level, is not an introduction to neuroscience. Course materials cover behavioral neuroscience research within the context of compulsive behaviors. It does not require an in-depth understanding of neurons, neural networks, the nervous system, or human brain function in order to successfully complete the course.
Q: Are new mice used for this course?
A: No. All the mice were used in other courses and experiments prior to including them in this course.
Q: Do any mice suffer while participating in the behavioral test?
A: No. Some of the behavioral tests may have been stressful. However, the stress was equivalent to what a mouse might experience while living in the animal facility, such as reestablishing a dominance hierarchy in a new and clean home cage.
Q: Are the mice killed at the end of the behavioral tests?
A: Yes. The mice were euthanized following federally required euthanasia procedures that minimize pain and distress. Most mice were used for several tests in order to reduce the total number of mice used.
Q: What happens if a mouse gets sick?
A: If a mouse got sick, it was checked by animal care and/or veterinary staff. If the illness was minor and treatable, it received appropriate care and was returned to its home cage. If the illness was severe, the mouse was euthanized following federally required euthanasia procedures that minimize pain and distress. Subsequently, the animal was necropsied to identify the cause of death. Causes of death usually included a tumor, kidney failure, a genetic anomaly, or an infection. Very few mice became ill.
Q: What happens if a mouse dies?
A: If a mouse died, it was necropsied to identify the cause of death. Causes of death usually included a tumor, kidney failure, a genetic anomaly, or an infection. Very few mice died.