Spatial memory in rats under non-life-threatening conditions

The Morris water navigation task, also known as the Morris water maze, is a commonly used behavioral procedure for studying spatial learning and memory in rodents. In this experiment, a rat is placed in a large circular pool and must find an invisible platform to escape the water. However, this situation puts the rats under high stress, which can be perceived as life-threatening by them.

Our goal is to evaluate spatial memory formation in a setting closer to the rat's daily life (a circular arena in the ground) with a softer, more natural reward: switching off the lights when the target is found. Since rats prefer dark environments, it has the potential to motivate rats to complete the task, without causing too much anxiety. Specifically, we measure memory formation within a single day of experimentation (short-term memory) and between two consecutive days (long-term memory), and analyze how these results change when certain drugs are administered to the rats.

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Víctor M. Eguíluz

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