Novel Object Recognition Test for the Investigation of Learning and Memory in Mice

J Vis Exp. 2017 Aug 30;(126):55718. doi: 10.3791/55718.


The object recognition test (ORT) is a commonly used behavioral assay for the investigation of various aspects of learning and memory in mice. The ORT is fairly simple and can be completed over 3 days: habituation day, training day, and testing day. During training, the mouse is allowed to explore 2 identical objects. On test day, one of the training objects is replaced with a novel object. Because mice have an innate preference for novelty, if the mouse recognizes the familiar object, it will spend most of its time at the novel object. Due to this innate preference, there is no need for positive or negative reinforcement or long training schedules. Additionally, the ORT can also be modified for numerous applications. The retention interval can be shortened to examine short-term memory, or lengthened to probe long-term memory. Pharmacological intervention can be used at various times prior to training, after training, or prior to recall to investigate different phases of learning (i.e., acquisition, early or late consolidation, or recall). Overall, the ORT is a relatively low-stress, efficient test for memory in mice, and is appropriate for the detection of neuropsychological changes following pharmacological, biological, or genetic manipulations.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*