Quantitative assessment of nocifensive behavioral responses and the underlying neuronal circuitry

Earl Carstens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


This paper reviews several recently developed animal models that allow a quantitative assessment of the magnitude of nocifensive behavioral responses across a range of noxious stimulus intensities. Models discussed in detail include: (a) the rodent tail flick reflex, and a modification that allows measurement of tail flick magnitude, (b) rat hindlimb flexion withdrawal reflex elicited by noxious thermal stimulation of the paw, and (c) a learned operant response (nose bar press) evoked by noxious thermal stimulation of the rat's tail. These models are discussed in terms of their advantages over previous methods measuring response threshold, their fulfillment of criteria for ideal pain assessment models, and the neuronal circuitry underlying the behavioral response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-215
Number of pages12
JournalDer Schmerz
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1993



  • Limb withdrawal
  • Nocifensive behavior
  • Operant response
  • Pain
  • Tail flick reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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