Animal Cognition

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 161–168 | Cite as

Exploration of virtual mazes by rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

  • David A. WashburnEmail author
  • Robert S. Astur
Original Article


A chasm divides the huge corpus of maze studies found in the literature, with animals tested in mazes on the one side and humans tested with mazes on the other. Advances in technology and software have made possible the production and use of virtual mazes, which allow humans to navigate computerized environments and thus for humans and nonhuman animals to be tested in comparable spatial domains. In the present experiment, this comparability is extended even further by examining whether rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) can learn to explore virtual mazes. Four male macaques were trained to manipulate a joystick so as to move through a virtual environment and to locate a computer-generated target. The animals succeeded in learning this task, and located the target even when it was located in novel alleys. The search pattern within the maze for these animals resembled the pattern of maze navigation observed for monkeys that were tested on more traditional two-dimensional computerized mazes.


Virtual maze Computer-generated stimuli Three-dimensional maze test Relational learning 



This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD38051) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NAG2–1271) to Georgia State University. Additional support was provided by the College of Arts and Sciences of Georgia State University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Yale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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