Can be used to detect: benzodiazepines, serotonergic anxiolytic-like compounds and anxiolytic drugs acting on neuropeptide receptors, changed anxiety levels in transgenic rodent models.

The light/dark or dark/light test has the advantages of being quick and easy to use, without requiring the prior training of animals. It can be useful to predict anxiolytic-like or anxiogenic-like activity in mice or in rats. The test is based on an innate conflict in rodents between spontaneous exploratory behaviour and aversion to brightly illuminated areas. The test apparatus (TSE MCS) consists of an aversive illuminated compartment and safe dark compartment of equal size which are connected by a guillotine door.

The extent to which an anxiolytic compound can facilitate exploratory activity (ie. latency to enter light compartment, time spent in the bright) depends on the baseline level in the control group.