Effects of repeated disorientation on the acquisition of spatial tasks in rats: dissociation between the appetitive radial arm maze and aversive water maze

J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 1997 Apr;23(2):194-210. doi: 10.1037//0097-7403.23.2.194.


This study examined the effects of disorientation on the acquisition of different spatial reference memory tasks. In an appetitively motivated radial arm maze task in which 1 arm was consistently baited, rats that were disoriented before each trial were impaired in their ability to acquire the task relative to rats placed in a clear container and not disoriented. However, disoriented rats were able to learn a Morris water maze and a water version of the radial arm maze under similar training conditions, suggesting that the effects of disorientation may interact with the quality or quantity of motivation involved in a given task. These results suggest that appetitive and aversive spatial tasks are dissociable, and that any impairment that is due to disorientation is specific to the appetitive radial arm maze task.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetitive Behavior*
  • Avoidance Learning*
  • Escape Reaction*
  • Female
  • Maze Learning*
  • Mental Recall
  • Orientation*
  • Problem Solving*
  • Rats
  • Space Perception*