The objective of this study was to identify patterns and profiles present in rodent behavioral assay data to inform methodology of future animal research. Domains of spatial learning, motor function, activity, and emotionality were examined. This study first identified how rodent performance on commonly used behavioral and neurocognitive assays varies by species, sex, and age. Significant differences were observed in spatial learning curves, patterns of motor function, emotionality and activity in rats and mice. Overall, males and females had similar performances on spatial learning and motor function, but sex and species interactions were also observed, indicating varied sex differences in rats and mice. This study also identified neurocognitive profiles specific to rodent models of cortical and subcortical brain injury that grossly resemble deficits observed in human brain injury. This study also used exploratory factor analysis to examine the latent factor structure present in behavioral assay data. The factor structure indicated the prominent contribution of strategic learning and activity level to performance across behavioral domains, explaining more than 50 percent of total variance. The potential for use of this information to design an abbreviated neurocognitive battery was discussed.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Hartman, Richard E.

Second Advisor

Boyd, Kendal C.

Third Advisor

Morrell, Holly

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded

January 2013

Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Brain injuries; Rodents; Psychology - Research - Methodology

Subject - Local

Rodent behavior; Behavioral testing procedures



Page Count

92 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives