Behavioral studies are an important part of neuroscience. They allow inferences about the functions of the brain and any internal states and processes it controls. Positron emission tomography (PET) is an in vivo imaging technique that provides insights into the mechanisms of neuronal communication. In this review, we focus on some of the contributions of PET to the field of behavioral neuroscience. Small animals typically require anesthesia to remain still during PET imaging, which places a burden on behavioral studies. Our approach integrates PET with behavioral observations using a miniature PET scanner that rats wear on the head, a mobility system to facilitate animal movement and ways to integrate the PET data with behavioral measures. We summarize our studies that assessed spontaneous, self-initiated behavioral activity and dopamine D2 receptor functions simultaneously.
©2011 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston