WorkshopUSVs for the People and the Rodents

The key aim of this workshop was to promote the recording of USV as a cheap, non-invasive and easy-to-use tool to investigate affective states (in rats) and other social processes (in rodents). We addressed questions such as why we should be interested in USV and how we can record USV with different levels of equipment, using examples from researchers using these techniques in their work. We also covered different approaches to analysing USV. The presentations can be viewed below and a useful reference list is provided here.


Dr Vincent Bombail (SRUC) introduces this online workshop.

Dr Theresa Kisko (KU Leuven)

Dr Caitlin Wyrwoll (The University of Western Australia)

Dr Nicolas Darcel (AgroParisTech)

Dr Raven Hickson (University of Edinburgh)

Dr Justyna Hinchcliffe (University of Bristol)

Dr Sylvie Granon (Universite Paris Saclay)

Dr Elodie Ey (CNRS)

Dr Catalina Gonzalez (SRUC)

Dr Vincent Bombail (SRUC)


Bombail, V., Jerôme, N., Lam, H., Muszlak, S., Meddle, S. L., Lawrence, A. B., & Nielsen, B. L. (2019). Odour conditioning of positive affective states: rats can learn to associate an odour with being tickled. PLoS One14(6), e0212829.

Bombail, V., Brown, S. M., Hammond, T. J., Meddle, S. L., Nielsen, B. L., Tivey, E. K., & Lawrence, A. B. (2021). Crying with laughter: Adapting the tickling protocol to address individual differences among rats in their response to playful handling. Frontiers in Veterinary Science8, 677872.

Brudzynski, S. M., & Granon, S. (2022). Principles of Recording Rodent Ultrasonic Vocalizations. In Psychiatric Vulnerability, Mood, and Anxiety Disorders: Tests and Models in Mice and Rats (pp. 329-352). New York, NY: Springer US.

Burgdorf, J., Panksepp, J., & Moskal, J. R. (2011). Frequency-modulated 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations: a tool for uncovering the molecular substrates of positive affect. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews35(9), 1831-1836.

Burke, C. J., Pellis, S. M., & Achterberg, E. J. M. (2022). Who’s laughing? Play, tickling and ultrasonic vocalizations in rats. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B377(1863), 20210184.

Chabout, J., Jones-Macopson, J., & Jarvis, E. D. (2017). Eliciting and analyzing male mouse ultrasonic vocalization (USV) songs. JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), (123), e54137.

Chabout, J., Serreau, P., Ey, E., Bellier, L., Aubin, T., Bourgeron, T., & Granon, S. (2012). Adult male mice emit context-specific ultrasonic vocalizations that are modulated by prior isolation or group rearing environment. PloS one7(1), e29401.

Champeil-Potokar, G., Kreichati, L., Rampin, O., Denis, I., Darcel, N., & Bombail, V. (2023). Rats chirp with their mouth full: During an experimental meal, adult male Wistar rats emitted flat ultrasonic vocalisations upon feeding. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience17, 1089631.

de Chaumont, F., Lemière, N., Coqueran, S., Bourgeron, T., & Ey, E. (2021). LMT USV toolbox, a novel methodological approach to place mouse ultrasonic vocalizations in their behavioral contexts—a study in female and male C57BL/6J mice and in Shank3 mutant females. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience15, 735920.

Ey, E., de Chaumont, F., & Bourgeron, T. (2020). Spontaneous social communication in laboratory mice-placing ultrasonic vocalizations in their behavioral context. bioRxiv, 2020-07.

Faure, A., Pittaras, E., Nosjean, A., Chabout, J., Cressant, A., & Granon, S. (2017). Social behaviors and acoustic vocalizations in different strains of mice. Behavioural brain research320, 383-390.

Granon, S., Faure, A., Chauveau, F., Cressant, A., & Ey, E. (2018). Why should my mouse call me? Acoustic communication in mouse models of social disorders: ultrasonic vocalizations as an index of emotional and motivational states. In Handbook of Behavioral Neuroscience (Vol. 25, pp. 423-431). Elsevier.

Hinchcliffe, J. K., Jackson, M. G., & Robinson, E. S. (2022). The use of ball pits and playpens in laboratory Lister Hooded male rats induces ultrasonic vocalisations indicating a more positive affective state and can reduce the welfare impacts of aversive procedures. Laboratory Animals56(4), 370-379.

Hinchcliffe, J. K., Mendl, M., & Robinson, E. S. (2020). Rat 50 kHz calls reflect graded tickling-induced positive emotion. Current Biology30(18), R1034-R1035.

Karwicka, W., Wiatrowska, M., Kondrakiewicz, K., Knapska, E., Kursa, M.B. & Hamed, A. (2021). Relaying Aversive Ultrasonic Alarm Calls Depends on Previous Experience. Empathy, Social Buffering, or Panic? Brain Sciences, 11(6), 759

Kisko, T. M., Himmler, B. T., Himmler, S. M., Euston, D. R., & Pellis, S. M. (2015). Are 50-kHz calls used as play signals in the playful interactions of rats? II. Evidence from the effects of devocalization. Behavioural processes111, 25-33.

Kisko, T. M., Schwarting, R. K., & Wöhr, M. (2021). Sex differences in the acoustic features of social play‐induced 50‐kHz ultrasonic vocalizations: A detailed spectrographic analysis in wild‐type Sprague–Dawley and Cacna1c haploinsufficient rats. Developmental Psychobiology63(2), 262-276.

Kisko, T. M., Wöhr, M., Pellis, V. C., & Pellis, S. M. (2017). From play to aggression: high-frequency 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations as play and appeasement signals in rats. Social behavior from rodents to humans: Neural foundations and clinical implications, 91-108.

Knutson, B., Burgdorf, J., & Panksepp, J. (2002). Ultrasonic vocalizations as indices of affective states in rats. Psychological bulletin128(6), 961.

Lefebvre, E., Granon, S., & Chauveau, F. (2020). Social context increases ultrasonic vocalizations during restraint in adult mice. Animal Cognition23(2), 351-359.

Olszyński, K.H., Polowy, R., Małż, M., Boguszewski, P.M. & Filipkowski, R.K. (2020). Playback of Alarm and Appetitive Calls Differentially Impacts Vocal, Heart-Rate, and Motor Response in Rats. iScience, 23(10), 101577.

Portfors, C. V. (2007). Types and functions of ultrasonic vocalizations in laboratory rats and mice. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science46(1), 28-34.

Premoli, M., Pietropaolo, S., Wöhr, M., Simola, N. & Bonini, S.A. (2023). Mouse and rat ultrasonic vocalizations in neuroscience and neuropharmacology: State of the art and future applications. European Journal of Neuroscience, 57(12), 2062-2096

Schwarting, R.K.W. (2023). Behavioral analysis in laboratory rats: Challenges and usefulness of 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 152, 105260

Simola, N., & Granon, S. (2019). Ultrasonic vocalizations as a tool in studying emotional states in rodent models of social behavior and brain disease. Neuropharmacology159, 107420.

Smith, B. J., Bruner, K. E., & Kendall, L. V. (2019). Female-and intruder-induced ultrasonic vocalizations in C57BL/6J mice as proxy indicators for animal wellbeing. Comparative Medicine69(5), 374-383.

Till, S. M., Hickson, R. D., & Kind, P. C. (2022). Cross-species considerations in models of neurodevelopmental disorders. Trends in Neurosciences45(3), 171-172.

Tivey, E. K., Martin, J. E., Brown, S. M., Bombail, V., Lawrence, A. B., & Meddle, S. L. (2022). Sex differences in 50 kHz call subtypes emitted during tickling-induced playful behaviour in rats. Scientific Reports12(1), 15323.

Wardak A.D., Olszyński, K.H., Polowy, R., Matysiak, J. & Filipkowski R.K. (2024). Rats that learn to vocalize for food reward emit longer and louder appetitive calls and fewer short aversive calls, PLoS One, 19(2), e0297

Wöhr, M. (2022). Measuring mania-like elevated mood through amphetamine-induced 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations in rats. British Journal of Pharmacology, 179(17), 4201-4219

Yates, N. J., Tesic, D., Feindel, K. W., Smith, J. T., Clarke, M. W., Wale, C., Crew, R. C., Wharfe, M. D., Whiteshouse, A. J. O. & Wyrwoll, C. S. (2018). Vitamin D is crucial for maternal care and offspring social behaviour in rats. Journal of Endocrinology237(2), 73-85.