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JoVE Encyclopedia of Experiments
Encyclopedia of Experiments: Biology

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The Water Maze with Platform Relocation: A Method to Assess Working Memory



Ensure visual cues are placed around the water maze tank to help subjects learn the location of the submerged hidden platform. Place the subject in the tank away from the platform facing the wall. The animal will swim to locate the stage and escape.

End the trial after the animal finds the platform or a predetermined time has elapsed. Let the subject stay on top of the platform before repeating the trial a second time. If it fails to locate the stage, guide the animal by hand and allow it to remain on the platform for the duration of the trial.

Then, to assess the animals working memory, repeat the trial a second time. Subjects will have to remember how to locate the platform and use the visual cues as reference. Record the time and path length for repeated trials to use as measures of working memory. After the animal has rested, continue by moving the platform to a new location and perform trials 1 and 2.

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