General activity in baboons measured with a computerized, lightweight piezoelectric motion sensor: Effects of drugs

Robert D. Hienz, Jaylan S. Turkkan, Debra J. Spear, Christine A. Sannerud, Barbara J. Kaminski, Richard P. Allens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A small, 1-oz activity-monitoring device is described for measuring motor activity continuously for periods of up to 42 days. The monitor employs a piezoelectric sensor that detects extremely small accelerations induced by movements. The monitor can be placed on collars or harnesses (e.g., for rabbits, cats, dogs, nonhuman primates, etc.). The use of the monitor is described within numerous laboratories studying the behavioral pharmacology of drugs in individually caged laboratory baboons. Patterns of daily activity were reliably recorded over periods of several months, and reflected the normal activity patterns of animals. The activity monitor recorded reliable drug-induced changes in general activity that paralleled the known effects of the same drugs on learned behaviors. Low doses of the stimulants cocaine and d-amphetamine both increaed general activity. Marked reductions in general activity were observed following both the administration of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and an antihypertensive drug combination of diuretic and verapamil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-507
Number of pages11
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1992



  • Baboon
  • Cocaine
  • Drugs
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Motor activity
  • Nonhuman primates
  • Verapamil
  • d-amphetamine
  • Δ-9 THC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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