Spatial Memory in Long Evans and Rattus Norvegicus rats
Rodents in search of food use visual environmental signals and complex spatial strategies and do not return to previously-visited locations, known as the win-shift strategy. The solution to the Olton Octagonal Maze (OOM) involves Working Memory (WM). A modified OOM was used that allows for measuring WM and Long Term Memory (LTM). The delayed spatial win-shift task consisted of a Training and Test phase separated by a delay. Prior to the Training phase, four arms were chosen at random and blocked, and food pellets were placed in the food cups of the four remaining open arms. Each rat was allowed to retrieve the pellets from the four open arms and then return to its home cage for the delay period (either 5 or 20 min). In the Test phase all 8 lanes were open, and the bait was placed in those blocked in the previous phase. Two experimental groups of rats, Long Evans and Norvegicus, and their corresponding control groups were trained. The experimental subjects performed Training-Delay-Test. The controls were only trained in the Test phase. Revisiting an arm previously explored in the 1st Phase was considered a LTM error. Revisiting an arm in the same trial constituted a WM error. It was concluded that the experimental groups do in fact possess LTM, with differences in favor of Norvegicus. There was no difference with respect to WM errors. The Norvegicus control group changes its strategy from allocentric to egocentric, which did not occur in the Long Evans control group.