Object-Location Memory Task

The Object-Location Memory task assesses cognition, specifically spatial memory and discrimination, in rodent models of CNS disorders. This test is based on the spontaneous tendency of rodents to spend more time exploring a novel object than a familiar object and also to recognize when an object has been relocated. Testing occurs in an open field arena, to which the animals are first habituated. The next day, four objects of similar material but different shapes are introduced to the arena. They are spaced roughly equidistant from each other with space in the middle for introducing the subject.

In the first trial, the animal is allowed to explore the arena with the four objects. In the second trial shortly thereafter, the animal again encounters the four objects, except that two of them have switched positions. The trials are recorded using a camera mounted above the arena and scored for the amount of time spent sniffing the objects; the object-location discrimination index is calculated. The Object-Location Memory task is useful for assessing cognitive deficits in transgenic strains of mice and for evaluating novel chemical entities for their effect on cognition.