Rats use a sense of direction to alternate on T-mazes located in adjacent rooms



Dudchenko P & Davidson M (2002) Rats use a sense of direction to alternate on T-mazes located in adjacent rooms. Animal Cognition, 5 (2), pp. 115-118.

Lister hooded rats were trained on a forced-sample T-maze alternation task in an environment lacking spatial landmarks. An early study of spontaneous alternation on the T-maze had shown that rats use a "spatial sense" to select alternate maze arms across mazes. As this phenomenon may provide a useful tool for studying the neural substrates of a directional sense, we wished to confirm this finding on a different version of the T-maze task, with well-trained animals. We found that rats successfully selected the appropriate maze arm when the choice phase of the task was presented on a second maze, oriented in the same direction, and located in an adjacent room. However, choice performance fell to chance level when the second maze was oriented 90° relative to the first. This result suggests that the rats do not simply alternate turns across the two environments, but rather that they rely on a sense of direction that is carried across environments.

T-maze; Spatial learning; Spatial alternation

Animal Cognition: Volume 5, Issue 2

Publication date30/06/2002
Publication date online28/05/2002
PublisherSpringer Verlag

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Professor Paul Dudchenko
Professor Paul Dudchenko

Professor, Psychology