UNIT 5.59 Novel Object Recognition in the Rat: A Facile Assay for Cognitive Function

  1. Joanne R. Mathiasen,
  2. Amy DiCamillo

Published Online: 1 JUN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/0471141755.ph0559s49

Current Protocols in Pharmacology

Current Protocols in Pharmacology

How to Cite

Mathiasen, J. R. and DiCamillo, A. 2010. Novel Object Recognition in the Rat: A Facile Assay for Cognitive Function. Current Protocols in Pharmacology. 49:5.59:5.59.1–5.59.15.

Author Information

  1. Discovery Research, Cephalon, West Chester, Pennsylvania

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUN 2010
  2. Published Print: JUN 2010


The rat novel object recognition (NOR) assay is a relatively high-throughput, robust, and sensitive procedure for evaluating compounds for cognition-enhancing activity. For the test, rats are given the opportunity to explore two identical objects for a predetermined period of time. After a delay, the animals are then presented with two objects to explore, one of which is the same as in the first exploration trial, the other a new object. Depending on the length of the delay between the two trials, the rats will either explore the novel object for a greater time period, indicating memory for the familiar object, or will explore the novel and familiar objects for the same amount of time, indicating a lack of recall or loss of memory for the familiar object presented during the initial trial. The protocol described in this unit can be used to evaluate the effects of a compound on the short-term/working memory of adult male rats following a 24-hr inter-trial interval. Curr. Protoc. Pharmacol. 49:5.59.1-5.59.15. © 2010 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • memory;
  • cognition;
  • novel object