Open field arenas

The open field is one of the most simple and straight-forward testing arenas, because it is basically an empty testing arena, usually round or square. In a classic open field test, anxiety-related and exploratory behavior of rodents in investigated. The amount of time spent close to the wall (an anxiety-like response referred to as thigmotaxis) versus the amount of time spent in, and frequencies of visits to, the inner zone are measured. Additionally, general locomotor behavior (total distance moved) is often taken into account.

Novel object recognition

The open field, whether empty or filled with bedding, can also be used for novel object recognition, a highly validated test for recognition memory. It can be used to test the efficacy of memory enhancing compounds, the (negative) effects of certain other compounds on memory, the influence of genetics or age on memory, etc.

The basic idea is straightforward: the rat or mouse is exposed to two or more objects and gets to explore these for a while. Then one of the objects is replaced by another one. If memory is functioning normally, the rat or mouse will spent more time exploring this novel object than it does exploring the familiar object(s). If exploration of all objects is the same, this can be interpreted as a memory deficit. 

Maze options

For many tests a simple square open field is sufficient. However, if you are using PhenoTyper for other experiments, or are planning to do so, this cage is also very suitable for open field tests. PhenoTyper includes lights, a camera, and stimuli in the top unit and is easily equipped with all kinds of equipment for other tests in a non-enriched or even home cage environment. 

Besides this, the open field comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors. You can use clear walls, or matted clear walls for optimal video tracking conditions, or opaque walls for tests like novel object recognition. We can supply you with the maze to suit your research needs and budget. Of course, all mazes are perfectly suited for video tracking research with EthoVision XT or in-depth behavioral scoring with The Observer XT.

Benefits and design features

Some open fields are one-piece boxes, while others have easily detachable walls (like Maze Engineers) for easy cleaning. 


Noldus can always offer a custom maze build to your specifications. In addition we have preferred suppliers such as Maze Engineers and Ugo Basile. Please notice that availability of the mazes from different manufacturers may differ based on your location. 

More information

To request more information, such as dimensions and options, please contact us. We would be happy to talk to you about which maze would suit your study best!