Elevated plus maze

The elevated plus maze is a well-characterized behavioral paradigm, and is one of the most used tests for anxiety research. The maze contains two open arms and two closed (wall-sheltered) arms and relies upon the animal’s natural tendency to stay in enclosed spaces and unconditioned fear for open spaces and heights. In short, anxious animals will spend more time in the closed arms than less anxious animals.  

EthoVision XT video tracking in the elevated plus maze

Made for your lab

The Noldus elevated plus maze is manufactured from high tech material, and is available in your color of choice. We also have a detachable version of the Noldus elevated plus maze that allows for easy storage.

Noldus elevated plus maze
The Noldus elevated plus maze with IR backlight
Noldus detachable elevated plus maze
This version of the Noldus elevated plus maze allows for easy storage

The elevated plus maze is available in both a rat or mouse version, and comes in a cost-efficient package deal that includes a computer and a full EthoVision XT software license for video tracking. This license can also be used for the video tracking and automation of other behavioral tests.

Video tracking in the elevated plus maze

The plus maze has obvious areas of interest: the open arms versus the closed arms. The amount of time that the animals spend in either of them is easily measured and analyzed with EthoVision XT. Examples of parameters include: latency to first enter an open arm, time spent in open arms versus closed arms, and total distance moved while in the open arms versus while in the closed arms.

EthoVision XT elevated plus maze wizard
Get your experiment up and running quickly with the predefined template for the elevated plus maze test in EthoVision XT!
elevated plus maze arena definition ethovision xt
Zone definition in EthoVision XT allows for the automatic measurement of important parameters such as latency to first open arm entry

EthoVision XT detects the center point, tail base, and nose point of your rat or mouse, allowing for accurate measurement of position and enabling you to discriminate between the subject only poking its nose around the corner or moving its entire body into one of the open arms of an elevated plus maze.

Detecting multiple body points also allows EthoVision XT to automatically detect behaviors such as body elongation – a characteristic of the stretch-attend posture that is often considered a response to an environment that incites both fear/anxiousness and curiosity.  

Maze suppliers

Noldus mazes can be adjusted or custom-built to your specific requirements, are optimally suited for video tracking with EthoVision XT, and are available in a package deal.

Alternatively, we also offer mazes from several suppliers such as Ugo Basile and Maze Engineers (availability may depend on your location).  

More information

Read more about EthoVision XT here, or check out our blog for recent studies with the plus maze. You can also download our free white paper!