Elevated plus maze

Working with an

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.

Working with an 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.

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.

elevated plus maze epm

Video tracking in the elevated plus maze

All Noldus elevated plus mazes are specifically designed to be used in combination with EthoVision XT video tracking. The gantry allows for optimal positioning of the camera, and the maze can also be fitted with IR backlight.

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.


Free white paper

Video tracking and the elevated plus maze

The elevated plus is the most used test to study anxiety and exploration in rats van mice. It is also a test that can be easily automated using video tracking software.

Are you interested in finding out how video tracking reliably automates your elevated plus maze test? What advantages video tracking software brings to your research? How other researchers use EthoVision video tracking for their plus maze experiments? Then download this white paper for free!


Accurate measurement of position

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.

ethovision wizard elevated plus maze
ethovision arena definition plus maze

Automatic detection of body points

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.  

two mice multiple body points video tracking visualization ethovision xt

Free e-book

Basic behavioral neuroscience in rodents

Why and how do we measure anxiety in the elevated plus maze? The elevated plus maze is a robust and validated test for this type of behavior in rodents. Find out more background information about the how and why about this anxiety test in our free e-book, where we also explore other behavioral paradigms.


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).  


Relevant blogs

Robust and reliable: Measuring anxiety in the Elevated plus maze

Robust and reliable: Measuring anxiety in the Elevated plus maze

Screening of anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus maze becomes more reliable with Ethovision XT combined with the standardization of testing parameters and common practices.
Decreased learning abilities in diabetic rats: Silymarin to the rescue

Decreased learning abilities in diabetic rats: Silymarin to the rescue

Silymarin is a substance that works as an antioxidant, is anti-inflammatory and increases BDNF levels. After supplementing silymarin to diabetic rats, typical diabetes symptoms were greatly improved.
Homology and analogy in behavioral neuroscience

Homology and analogy in behavioral neuroscience

The point of this blog is to encourage you, as researchers, to ‘double think’, which is to say think like a scientist and think like an animal.
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