UNIT 8.5B Assessment of Spatial Memory Using the T Maze

  1. Gary L. Wenk

Published Online: 1 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0805bs04

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

Current Protocols in Neuroscience

How to Cite

Wenk, G. L. 2001. Assessment of Spatial Memory Using the T Maze. Current Protocols in Neuroscience. 4:8.5B:8.5B.1–8.5A.7.

Author Information

  1. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2001
  2. Published Print: AUG 1998


This unit describes the use of the T maze to assess spatial memory, and takes into account the alternating behavior of rats in searching for food. The task is based on the premise that animals have evolved an optimal strategy to explore their environment and obtain food with a minimum amount of effort. The T maze has been most extensively used to investigate specific aspects of spatial working memory, which is operationally defined as information that is only useful to a rat during the current experience with the task. A modification of the maze allows for the assessment of reference memory, defined as information that is useful across all exposures to the task (i.e., on any day of testing). Finally, in the absence of food-deprivation, a simple T maze can be used as described to assess spontaneous alternation.