University of Kentucky

Poster Title

STUDY 2: Cognitive Mapping in Rats

Institution

University of Kentucky

Abstract

Cognitive mapping implies the development of an internal representation of the spatial relationships among objects in the environment. Evidence for the development of a cognitive map in an animal would be demonstrated if it could be shown that an animal is capable of selecting a novel path to reach a goal when a familiar route is blocked and other strategies such as landmark use and path integration can be ruled out. However, landmarks may aid in the formation of the cognitive map. We trained rats to obtain a reward in two of three goal boxes in a three-arm maze. The experimental group had distinctive cues present during training whereas the control group did not. In testing, no distinguishable landmarks were available for either group. When they were given a choice between two novel paths; one path leading to the goal box that had always been baited during training, the other path leading to the goal box which had never been baited during training rats in the experimental group showed a significant preference for the appropriate novel path whereas those in the control group did not. These results suggest that rats are able to form simple cognitive maps.

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STUDY 2: Cognitive Mapping in Rats

Cognitive mapping implies the development of an internal representation of the spatial relationships among objects in the environment. Evidence for the development of a cognitive map in an animal would be demonstrated if it could be shown that an animal is capable of selecting a novel path to reach a goal when a familiar route is blocked and other strategies such as landmark use and path integration can be ruled out. However, landmarks may aid in the formation of the cognitive map. We trained rats to obtain a reward in two of three goal boxes in a three-arm maze. The experimental group had distinctive cues present during training whereas the control group did not. In testing, no distinguishable landmarks were available for either group. When they were given a choice between two novel paths; one path leading to the goal box that had always been baited during training, the other path leading to the goal box which had never been baited during training rats in the experimental group showed a significant preference for the appropriate novel path whereas those in the control group did not. These results suggest that rats are able to form simple cognitive maps.