Environmental enrichment from birth enhances visual acuity but not place learning in mice

Behav Brain Res. 2000 Sep;114(1-2):11-5. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(00)00186-8.


The effect of richness of the environment on behavioral function was investigated in C57B6 mice. Animals were raised in either enriched (group-housed in large clear plexiglas cages with stimulating objects) or restricted (group housed in opaque white plastic cages with no stimulating objects) environmental conditions and their spatial learning and visual acuity were measured as adults. The performance of enriched and restricted groups were indistinguishable in place and cued versions of the Morris water task; however, the visual acuity of the enriched group, measured in a grating versus gray version of the visual water task, was 18% higher than the restricted group. These data demonstrate that the function of the mouse visual system can be significantly influenced by the nature of early visual input. They also indicate that the effects of environmental enrichment are manifested differently in behavioral measures of spatial learning and visual acuity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology*
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*