Brown Institute for Brain Science

Hot Plate Task

Rationale of Test

To assess changes in the detection and processing of thermal sensory inputs. This test is often used in the assessment of novel pharmacological agents used to alleviate pain or in genetic or surgically induced models of pain sensitivity or pain disruption.


Hot Plate Apparatus, video camera


Depending on the species and strain of rodent, the hot plate will be warmed to a temperature of 50C. The mouse will be placed on the plate and latency to demonstrate hind paw licking, jumping, or sustained hind paw withdrawal (~1sec) are assessed. To insure no harm to the animal, a maximum trial duration of 30 seconds is used.


Group differences in demonstration of a behavioral indicator of discomfort indicate a change in thermal sensitivity of that group of animals.

Relevant Controls

Additional tasks can be applied, including the Hargraeves method for testing thermal sensitivity.

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