Water maze (neuroscience)

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A water maze is a device used to test an animal's memory in which the alleys are filled with water, providing a motivation to escape.[1]

Many different mazes exist, such as T- and Y-mazes,[2] Cincinnati water mazes,[3] and radial arm mazes.[4] Water mazes have been used to test discrimination learning[2] and spatial learning abilities.[4] The Morris water navigation task is often called a "water maze task", but this is erroneous as it is not, properly speaking, a maze.[1] The development of these mazes has aided research into, for example, hippocampal synaptic plasticity, NMDA receptor function, and looking into neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.


  1. ^ a b Schenk, Françoise (1998). "5: The Morris Water Maze (is not a maze)". In Foreman, Nigel; Gillett, Raphael. Handbook of Spatial Research Paradigms and Methodologies. Volume 2: Clinical and Comparative Studies. East Sussex, United Kingdom: Psychology Press. pp. 145–188. ISBN 978-0-86377-807-0.
  2. ^ a b van Abeelen JH, Schetgens TM (March 1981). "Inheritance of discrimination learning ability and retention in BA and DBA mice". Behavior Genetics. 11 (2): 173–177. doi:10.1007/BF01065628. PMID 7271683.
  3. ^ Vorhees, Charles V.; Williams, Michael T. "Cincinnati water maze: A review of the development, methods, and evidence as a test of egocentric learning and memory". Neurotoxicology and Teratology. 57: 1–19. doi:10.1016/j.ntt.2016.08.002. PMC 5056837. PMID 27545092.
  4. ^ a b Hyde LA, Hoplight BJ, Denenberg VH (March 1998). "Water version of the radial-arm maze: learning in three inbred strains of mice". Brain Research. 785 (2): 236–244. doi:10.1016/S0006-8993(97)01417-0. PMID 9518631. Retrieved 2014-05-23.