Similarities and differences in spatial learning and object recognition between young male C57Bl/6J mice and sprague-dawley rats

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19 Scopus citations


Mice and rats are often used interchangeably in neuroscience research. However, species differences in brain structure and connectivity exist within the medial temporal lobe circuits that contribute to learning and memory. The hippocampus in particular contributes to both spatial learning and recognition memory, but the extent to which rats and mice are comparable in these two cognitive domains remains unclear. To evaluate potential species differences in spatial memory and object recognition, young adult male Sprague-Dawley rats and male C57Bl/6J mice were tested in the water maze and novel object recognition tasks. Following six days of training, with four trials per day, there was no difference in the ability of rats and mice to learn the location of a hidden platform. However, rats performed better than mice on the probe trial, indicative of superior retention. In the novel object preference test, no species differences in recognition memory were detected, although rats spent more time exploring the arena and took longer to approach the objects. These observations suggest that while species differences in spatial memory retention are present, they do not correlate with differences in object recognition memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-795
Number of pages5
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2011


  • Hippocampus
  • Object recognition
  • Species difference
  • Water maze

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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