CNS|CRO offers a wide range of behavioural tests for in vivo assessments, and have the expertise to assist in designing a test battery specific to your needs.  If required, many tests may be adapted and/or combined with additional techniques to provide client-tailored in vivo assessments.   Histological analyses (e.g. morphology, immunohistochemistry, etc)  are also available.  All work is properly blinded and behaviours are digitally recorded for arms-length evaluation and provided as a record with the final report.

General Activity/Exploration

Open field testing allows for easy assessment of locomotor and exploratory behaviours, and can also be used for screening anxiolytic compounds. Novel object exploration, playground maze, home cage emergence, and hole poke testing paradigms are also available.

Neurosensory/Neuromotor Evaluation

CNS|CRO offers a variety of tests suitable for assessment of early developmental processes, including surface righting, geotaxis reflex, auditory startle, suspension test, olfactory orientation, swim ontogeny, and tactile response.


Elevated Plus Maze

Elevated Plus Maze

Available tests include the elevated plus maze, light-dark box, open field, and forced swim test.





Conditioned Place Preference

Olfactory conditioning is a popular way to determine basic associative processes. Conditioned place preference is an expression of instrumental learning, which relies on classical conditioning, a simple form of associative learning and memory. It differs, however, from other classical conditioning paradigms in that one trial is often sufficient for the association to be formed.

Learning and Memory

Radial Arm Maze

Radial Arm Maze

Various test paradigms exist to explore learning and memory and can be run in either simple or complex configurations to detect different degrees of functional alteration. Among others, CNS|CRO offers the Morris Water Maze, Novel Water Maze, Radial Arm Maze and Barnes Circular Maze to test spatial learning and memory. These tests all require integrity of the hippocampal formation and associated structures. All paradigms can be run in cued or uncued configurations.  Depending upon the parameters used, T- and Y-mazes can assess either operant conditioning (e.g. cued tasks) or spatial learning (e.g. reliance on egocentric cues).

Social Behaviour

Depending on the paradigm, tests for social behaviour allow measurements that range from basic sociability assessments to social preference evaluations (e.g. stranger vs  familiar vs no contact).

Executive Function

Executive function can be evaluated in rodents using complex paradigms such as serial choice tasks or set-shift tasks run in either appetitively-motivated or aversively-motivated configurations.

Gross and Fine Motor Function

Rotarod treadmills are routinely used to assess motor coordination and fatigue resistance in mice and rats. Results provide a sensitive and efficient index for assessing motor impairment produced by neurodegenerative processes. Simple reflexive motor skills can be tested in neonatal animals (wire hang test) or adult animals (foot fault tests, gait analysis, vibrissae and tactile placing tests). Purposeful, coordinated fine motor function can be assessed using skilled reaching tasks.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Test Battery

Human diagnosis of ASD relies on assessment of deficits in two primary areas -social communication and repetitive behaviours. CNSCRO’s new test battery combines specially selected behavioural tests with evaluations of rodent ‘speech’ in the ultrasonic spectrum (USVs), thus providing a highly relevant and sensitive paradigm for ASD animal model testing. In addition, many symptoms frequently found to be comorbid with ASDs are also readily identifiable and quantifiable, further enhancing the value of this test battery for assessment of potentially therapeutic ASD compounds.

Printable Model Information Sheet

ASD Behavioural Testing – Information Sheet

The Learning - Performance Distinction

Learning is assessed by performance. However performance is determined by factors other than learning alone, including opportunity, motivation and sensory-motor capabilities. CNS|CRO offers expertise in identifying those aspects of performance which are due to learning and/or memory processes and designing established and novel paradigms under the direction of senior scientists who collectively have over 65 years of experience in the behavioural testing field.

Morris Water Maze

Morris Water Maze