Novel object recognition test

Tools for the

Novel object recognition test

Novel object recognition (NOR) is a highly validated test for recognition memory. It is mostly used to test the efficacy of memory enhancing compounds, the (negative) effects of certain other compounds on memory, or the influence of genetics or age on memory.

Tools for the Novel object recognition test

The basic idea of novel object testing 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 object. If the subject's memory is functioning normally, they spend more time exploring this novel object than exploring the familiar object(s). If the exploration of all objects is the same, this behavior can be a sign of a memory deficit.


Customer quote

“EthoVision is able to detect and quantify mouse behavior in an unbiased way, better than biologists seeking answers to scientific questions”.

Dr. D.P. Mohapatra|Washington University School of Medicine, USA


Testing arena

A novel object recognition test can be done in any open field or home cage. We offer several open fields in standard sizes, but we can just as easily build an arena according to your specifications. We also offer variations in size, color, wall height, and shape. 

Other options include detachable walls and partitions, and IR backlight. All Noldus open fields are perfectly suitable for video tracking experiments, and are available in a cost-effective package deal that includes a full EthoVision XT license and computer! 

white rat in an open field with squares

Home cage novel object testing

For home cage novel object testing, our PhenoTyper offers the perfect setup. It includes (IR) lights, a camera, and stimuli in the top unit and can also be easily equipped with equipment for other tests. PhenoTyper is powered by EthoVision XT, for video tracking and the control of the built-in stimuli.

brown mouse on a shelter in a phenotyper
white rat with a novel object

Video tracking with Noldus mazes

All Noldus open fields are made from high-quality, non-reflective materials, which makes them ideal for video tracking with EthoVision XT.

PhenoTyper is also designed to work in combination with EthoVision XT. Clear acrylic walls can be replaced by (partially) matted walls if you need to reduce reflection.


Free e-book

Basic behavioral neuroscience in rodents

The most used test for cognition and memory is the novel object recognition test. The more this test is standardized, the more accurate study outcomes will become. What type of memory does the novel object recognition test actually measure? In our free (behavioral) neuroscience e-book we dive into this topic and suggest a protocol for this test.


Analysis with EthoVision XT

EthoVision XT video tracking software detects and tracks the center point, nose point, and tail base of mice and rats. Any objects used for the test can easily be identified in the arena setting during your experiment. The combination of these two features allows for the easy measurement of the proximity of the nose point to the object, which indicates the animal’s interest in it.

For some studies, this might not be a sufficient enough parameter for object exploration. Other parameters, such as animal movement and head direction can be just as important. With EthoVision XT, you can combine these into a newly defined parameter that you can use for measurement and analysis. 

ethovision wizard multiple body points
ethovision novel object recognition multiple body point tracking

screenshot webinar inside scientific


Increasing Reproducibility and Reliability of Novel Object Tests Through Standardization and Automation

Join Alicia Brantley, PhD for a deep dive into her work involving novel object tests, the challenges associated with these protocols, and the solutions she is exploring to overcome these challenges.

Key topics include:

  • Defining novel object test procedures and goals
  • Understanding primary challenges to reproducibility in novel object tests
  • Successfully utilizing behavioral tracking software to increase reliability in novel object tests

Free white paper

Novel object recognition

EthoVision XT is the way to automate your novel object recognition test. It is just as accurate, if not better, as a highly-trained human observer. To illustrate, both Cyrenne and Brown [4] and Benice and Raber [1] found strong correlations between their automatically collected EthoVision XT data and manual observations.

Download the white paper to learn more about how this versatile software platform works, and how it can complete your research!


Relevant blogs

Advancing the novel object test: 3D printing and deep learning

Advancing the novel object test: 3D printing and deep learning

To improve standardisation and consistency in the novel object test, Spry et al designed the 'CapTouch' system: capacative objects that can automatically register interaction. But what about deep learning in EthoVision XT?
Can a food preservative increase symptoms of autism?

Can a food preservative increase symptoms of autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has a strong genetic component – a well-known fact. However, recent studies suggest that environmental factors, such as dietary ingredients, can cause exacerbation of the symptoms.
Using several behavioral tests to investigate the role of the NR1 gene in schizo

Using several behavioral tests to investigate the role of the NR1 gene in schizo

Studies of the mental disorder schizophrenia in lab animals often include behavioral tests to investigate social behavior, cognitive abilities, and motor functioning.
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