Simple Maze Design through Cellular Processes of Learning, Consolidation and Reconsolidation of Long-term Memory Using that Maze

Simple Maze Design through Cellular Processes of Learning, Consolidation and Reconsolidation of Long-term Memory Using that Maze



Behavioral assessment, methodological techniques to assess learning/performance
Different types of memory (spatial:nonspatial, hippocampal:nonhippocampal, declarative:nondeclarative, working:reference)
Assessment of learning versus memory
Consolidation, reconsolidation and protein synthesis
Hippocampus and temporal lobe
Role of temporal lobe in declarative memory
LTP, NMDA and electrophysiology to measure this
Histological methods – lesion, pharmacological, cellular staining and slicing
Why this maze is used so widely


Richard Morris’ progression from simple maze design through cellular processes of learning, consolidation and reconsolidation of long-term memory using that maze.

Applicable for Courses:

Behavioral Neuroscience course with a lab section

Educational Level:

mid-level (300-level)

Roadmap Objectives:

    • Article: Morris, RGM., Garrud, P., Rawlins, JNP., & O’Keefe, J. (1982). Place navigation impaired in rats with hippocampal lesions. Nature, 297: 681-683.
    • Content area/major concepts: methodology of behavioral testing, how we assess learning, memory and behavior, impact of the hippocampus on learning in a spatial task, how that relates to declarative learning in humans, controls for reinforcement in behavioral tasks, controls for lesioning.
    • Methods or technology used to obtain data: water maze, spatial and cued visual learning, transfer tests to assess learning strategy, pathways of learning, hippocampal lesions, statistical analysis.
    • How the CREATE strategy was used:
    • Biggest teaching challenge: the methods are not really complete so I would have to either supplement with the previous paper or let them determine what they need to know and do that. Straightforward data, more issues with methods.
    • Article: Morris RGM. (1989). Synaptic plasticity and learning: Selective impairment of learning in rats and blockade of long-term potentiation in vivo by the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist AP5. The Journal of Neuroscience, 9(9): 3040-3057.
    • Content area/major concepts: long-term potentiation (LTP), glutamate, NMDA and non-NMDA receptors, protein synthesis for LTP, method of intraventricular cannulation, pharmacology, controls for sensory difficulties, electrophysiology.
    • Methods or technology used to obtain data: pharmacological interventions that can simulate a lesion but be more specific, electrophysiology-brain tissue slicing, induction of tetanus, recording of electrical field potentials, % change over baseline.
    • How the CREATE strategy was used:
    • Biggest teaching challenge: this paper has 5 separate experiments, which might be a bit much. However, the middle 3 experiments are really a behavioral check on the injected drug effect. In addition, they all use the same exact measure, but assess secondary behavioral tasks in addition to learning. There is also a good amount of jargon in this paper because it moves into pharmacology and cellular receptors. Electrophysiology will be a challenge because it’s not my area and there is a good amount of computational math to get to Figure 10. However, this figure can be understood without necessarily understanding all of that.
    • Article: Morris, RGM., Inglis, J., Ainge, JA., Olverman, HJ., Tulloch, J., Dudai, Y., Kelly, PAT (2006). Memory reconsolidation: Sensitivity of spatial memory to inhibition of protein synthesis in dorsal hippocampus during encoding and retrieval. Neuron, 50(3):479-489.
    • Content area/major concepts: reconsolidation, protein synthesis requirement for memory consolidation and/or reconsolidation, working memory, pharmacology of protein synthesis inhibition, immunocytological measurement of protein synthesis behavioral addition – delayed match to place by moving the hidden platform on the first trial of each session.
    • Methods or technology used to obtain data: autoradiogram, behavioral variation with match to place paradigm that assesses a different type of spatial learning.
    • How the CREATE strategy was used:
    • Biggest teaching challenge: long and dense NEURON paper with 6 detailed experiments. The design in complex because they inject and test at all possible points – pretraining, post-training, consolidation, re-test, etc. I am hopeful that as the final paper in the series and, therefore, near the end of the semester, the students will be able to follow the logic (which is quite clear).

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