The novel object recognition memory: neurobiology, test procedure, and its modifications

Cogn Process. 2012 May;13(2):93-110. doi: 10.1007/s10339-011-0430-z. Epub 2011 Dec 9.


Animal models of memory have been considered as the subject of many scientific publications at least since the beginning of the twentieth century. In humans, memory is often accessed through spoken or written language, while in animals, cognitive functions must be accessed through different kind of behaviors in many specific, experimental models of memory and learning. Among them, the novel object recognition test can be evaluated by the differences in the exploration time of novel and familiar objects. Its application is not limited to a field of research and enables that various issues can be studied, such as the memory and learning, the preference for novelty, the influence of different brain regions in the process of recognition, and even the study of different drugs and their effects. This paper describes the novel object recognition paradigms in animals, as a valuable measure of cognition. The purpose of this work was to review the neurobiology and methodological modifications of the test commonly used in behavioral pharmacology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / drug effects
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Neurobiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Recognition, Psychology / drug effects
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Perception / drug effects