Spatial memory: behavioral determinants of persistence in the watermaze delayed matching-to-place task

Bruno M da Silva, Tobias Bast, Richard G M Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The watermaze delayed matching-to-place (DMP) task was modified to include probe trials, to quantify search preference for the correct place. Using a zone analysis of search preference, a gradual decay of one-trial memory in rats was observed over 24 h with weak memory consistently detected at a retention interval of 6 h, but unreliably at 24 h. This forgetting function in the watermaze was similar to that found using a search-preference measure in a food-reinforced dry-land DMP task in a previous study. In a search for strong and weak encoding conditions, essential for a later behavioral tagging study, three encoding trials gave strong 6-h and 24-h memory when trials were separated by 10 min (spaced training) but not 15 sec (massed training). The use of six encoding trials gave good 6-h memory with both spaced and massed training. With respect to weak encoding, placement on the escape platform, instead of the rat swimming to it, resulted in detectable memory at 30 min but this had faded to chance within 24 h. In contrast to the search-preference measure, latencies to cross the correct place revealed neither the gradual forgetting of place memory nor the benefit of spaced training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-36
Number of pages9
JournalLearning & Memory
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Rats
  • Retention (Psychology)
  • Space Perception
  • Spatial Behavior
  • Time Factors

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