A new one-trial test for neurobiological studies of memory in rats. 1: Behavioral data

Behav Brain Res. 1988 Nov 1;31(1):47-59. doi: 10.1016/0166-4328(88)90157-x.


In this paper we describe a new memory test in rats, based on the differential exploration of familiar and new objects. In a first trial (T1), rats are exposed to one or to two identical objects (samples) and in a second trial, to two dissimilar objects, a familiar (the sample) and a new one. For short intertrial intervals (approximately 1 min), most rats discriminate between the two objects in T2: they spend more time in exploring the new object than the familiar one. This test has several interesting characteristics: (1) it is similar to visual recognition tests widely used in subhuman primates, this allows interspecies comparisons; (2) it is entirely based on the spontaneous behavior of rats and can be considered as a 'pure' working-memory test completely free of reference memory component; (3) it does not involve primary reinforcement such as food or electric shocks, this makes it comparable to memory tests currently used in man.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology*