Statistical analysis of latency outcomes in behavioral experiments

Antje Jahn-Eimermacher, Irina Lasarzik, Jacob Raber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


In experimental designs of animal models, memory is often assessed by the time for a performance measure to occur (latency). Depending on the cognitive test, this may be the time it takes an animal to escape to a hidden platform (water maze), an escape tunnel (Barnes maze) or to enter a dark component (passive avoidance test). Latency outcomes are usually statistically analyzed using ANOVAs. Besides strong distributional assumptions, ANOVA cannot properly deal with animals not showing the performance measure within the trial time, potentially causing biased and misleading results. We propose an alternative approach for statistical analyses of latency outcomes. These analyses have less distributional assumptions and adequately handle results of trials in which the performance measure did not occur within the trial time. The proposed method is well known from survival analyses, provides comprehensible statistical results and allows the generation of meaningful graphs. Experiments of behavioral neuroscience and anesthesiology are used to illustrate this method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-275
Number of pages5
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011


  • Barnes maze
  • Latency
  • Morris water maze
  • Passive avoidance
  • Statistical analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Statistical analysis of latency outcomes in behavioral experiments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this