, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 305–311 | Cite as

Different time course for age-related changes of behavior in a complex spatial cone-field discrimination task in Lewis rats

  • F. Josef van der Staay
  • Arjan Blokland
  • Wijnand Raaijmakers


Clear age-related impairments in learning and memory performance have consistently been reported for rodents in spatial discrimination tasks. The aim in the present study was to evaluate whether Lewis rats display age-associated changes in spatial working memory (WM) and reference memory (RM) performance and whether the changes in their performance on both memory components follow the same time course. Rats of five different ages of the Lewis strain were trained on a complex spatial discrimination task in a cone field. This task allows the simultaneous assessment of WM and RM. We observed that WM performance declined already between 4 and 12 months of age. RM performance, on the other hand, was better in the 18-, 24-, and 30-month-old animals than in the two youngest age groups. This was probably because the younger rats adopted the habit of extensively inspecting nonreinforced places. Correlation analysis of the data supported the view that WM and RM represent different aspects of spatial memory. The study corroborates the notion that distinct aspects of behavior decline differently with age.


Spatial Memory Trial Block Work Memory Reference Memory Radial Maze 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Josef van der Staay
    • 1
  • Arjan Blokland
    • 1
  • Wijnand Raaijmakers
    • 1
  1. 1.Neuropsychology and PsychobiologyUniversity of LimburgMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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