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Research maze puts images on floor, where rodents look
Date:2/26/2014

ing around.

The system makes a real difference in the speed with which rats learn tasks in the maze, Burwell said. In different experiments, the article notes, rats have learned to respond properly to visual stimuli in a fourth to a sixth the number of trials when stimuli were projected onto the floor rather than onto walls.

While rodents behave in the maze, they are tracked with an overhead camera and software that monitors their behavior. Implanted neural sensors in the rodents' brains allow for precise recording of brain activity during sessions so that it can be correlated with behavior.

Implants also allow for delivery of a rewarding stimulus. Rewards sent directly to the brain can be more effective than food rewards, Burwell said, because rats can be rewarded in the moment of desired performance, and they don't become satiated.

Burwell first published a paper about the floor projection maze in 2009 and has been using it ever since. She owns the intellectual property and said a company is interested in licensing it.

"For anyone interested in using rats or mice as a model for visual information processing, presenting the information on the floor makes good sense behaviorally and biologically," she said.

The Brown University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee must approve research protocols involving animals, including the floow projection maze.


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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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