The T-maze is a popular test for the investigation of spatial learning and memory. Often animals are taught to discriminate between the two arms based on visual, olfactory, tactile or even auditory cues during consecutive trials.
The T-maze is also often used for research on zebrafish, see this application.
Automation of research
Noldus offers you the perfect tools for the T-maze test. First of all, EthoVision XT will track the behavior, activity, and movement of your animals in high detail. Add a T-maze and other equipment to create a complete solution. To get your experiment up and running quickly, EthoVision XT includes a template for the T-maze with pre-defined settings that you can fine-tune to fit your experiment.
Behaviors related to areas of interest
For efficient data selection and analysis, EthoVision XT allows you to specify different zones or points of interest from the video image of your test arena. This allows the program to automatically measure parameters related to these zones. A T-maze is generally into a start box/area, the starting arm, and two goal arms.
Tracking movement and behavior in detail
EthoVision XT is able to detect and track not only the center point, but also the nose point and tail base of mice and rats. This allows for the accurate measurement of an animal’s position relative to certain objects in the arena or the arena itself. For example, use it to discriminate between the animal poking only its nose around the corner or moving its entire body into one of the arms of T-maze.
Automating your research provides a number of great benefits; it increases efficiency and helps you to standardize your experiment, resulting in more reliable data. You can program EthoVision XT to automatically start and stop the tracking of your animal, saving you the hassle of doing it manually. For example, start tracking as soon as the animal is detected in the start box and stop tracking after it has entered the correct goal arm.
Control of external equipment
But automation can do much more for you. That is why Noldus developed the Trial & Hardware Control Module. It takes automating your experiment a step further, by allowing you to control external hardware from within the software. EthoVision XT allows you to control external hardware, based on user-definable protocols. You formulate these protocols by defining several steps and conditions in “blocks” which you can drag and interconnect easily.
Examples of parameters
Several variables are of prime interest in the T-maze test. These, and more, are automatically calculated with EthoVision XT:
- Percentage of time in which the correct arm was entered first
- Latency to enter the correct arm
- Total time spent in both arms
- Distance traveled to first arm entry