After discussions with a former colleague, I want to try and establish the best way to do real-time place preference (RTPP). My impression was to do this technique as a non-conditioned test, ie. you’re not trying to acclimatise the mice to one side of the cage and then change their preference. Instead, you want to put them in a neutral and novel environment and see if you can influence their normal exploratory behaviour in real time using optogenetic stimulation.
But, is this how other neuroscientists see RTPP? I’m really interested to find out what others think and how they run their studies. For reference, my protocol would run something like this:
1. Tether mouse and place it on one side of a two-chambered cage (it should be neutral, with a simple divider, and no distinguishing features between each side, thereby limiting any biased preference).
2. Once the mouse crosses to the other side of the chamber, start a 10-minute timer and start opto stimulation.
3. Track the animal’s movement/time spent on each side (stimulate on one side, and stop stimulation for the other).