Rodent mazes and memory: Continuing the search for the engram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The field of how learning and remembering happens in the brain has a rich history. We have made considerable discoveries thus far; however, there is still much left to discern. Questions regarding the search for the engram, or memory trace, have persisted through the decades, and this research area is on a fast trajectory forward. In fact, like many scientific domains, the more we learn, the more novel queries are unleashed. Learning and memory research includes and spans the invertebrate level, from the simple marine mollusk Aplysia californica , to rodents, to nonhuman primates, to humans. Research in rats and mice has been especially prolific, and this work has pioneered dramatic discoveries unlocking some of the mysteries of learning and memory. This chapter takes you down memory lane, exploring the opulent, complex, and rousing history of the science of learning and remembering. A historical perspective is provided on discoveries in the fi eld of learning and memory, particularly studies using rodents and mazes, starting with the first experimental psychology learning study using the white rat. The didactics of rodent learning and memory studies are covered, including operationally defining learning and remembering in the rodent, as well as discussion about how maze studies can provide a window into the mind of rats and mice. The importance of good experimental design, control behavioral procedures, and entertaining alternative interpretations of behavioral findings are considered in the context of wisdom gained from prior research, as well as in the setting of broadening perspectives on modern maze applications and experiments that are yet to be designed and are forthcoming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-36
Number of pages34
JournalNeuromethods
Volume94
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Keywords

  • Behavior
  • Brain
  • Cortex
  • Hippocampus
  • History
  • Learning
  • Maze
  • Memory
  • Mouse
  • Navigation
  • Place
  • Protocol
  • Rat
  • Reference
  • Rodent
  • Spatial
  • Working

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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