T Maze Spontaneous Alternation

T Maze Spontaneous Alternation is a behavioral test for measuring exploratory behavior in animals, especially rodent models for CNS disorders. This test is based on the willingness of rodents to explore a new environment, i.e. they prefer to visit a new arm of the maze rather than a familiar arm. Many parts of the brain—including the hippocampus, septum, basal forebrain, and prefrontal cortex—are involved in this task.

Subjects are first placed in the start arm of the T Maze. Upon leaving the start arm, subjects choose between entering either the left or the right goal arm. With repeated trials, the animals should show less of a tendency to enter a previously visited arm. The percentage of alternation (number of turns in each goal arm) and total trial duration are recorded. This test is used to quantify cognitive deficits in transgenic strains of mice and evaluate novel chemical entities for their effects on cognition.