This study investigated the effects of displaced objects and spatial reorganization on habituation of exploratory behavior. The subjects, rats, each individually spent 5 minutes in an open field for 6 trials. Throughout the study, exploratory behavior was measured in the number of contacts the subject made, the number of ambulations, and contact time (seconds). Trials 1-5 were mainly used to familiarize the subject with its surroundings, naturally leading to decreasing amounts of exploratory behavior. Trial 6 involves the same routine, except displaced objects are introduced in an attempt to renew exploratory behavior and promote the building up of environmental maps and representations. Additionally, the measured behavior …show more content…
At the very start of Week 1, the typical routine began with dim room lights – at most only one of the switches were permitted be turned on. It was important to maintain silence as to ensure the experiment would not be disrupted. Once again, there were no objects in this open field. We then took the transport box to the colony room, transferred the first subject to the transport box, and then returned to the running room.
Then, the subject was removed from its cage and placed in the middle of the open field maze for a 5-minute (300 second) time interval. During this period we took note of the number of ambulations. Ambulations were defined as forward locomotion into a square with front and hind limbs. The logic behind these trials included giving the subjects an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the open field. Once the trial was over, the subject was returned to its home cage and the open field was cleaned out with cleanser. Then, we repeated this procedure one more time, totaling two trials.
At the beginning of Week 2, room lights remained dim, leaving only one of the switches on. It was still important to maintain as much silence as possible. This was also a good opportunity to double-check the placement of the 3 objects in the open field. We took the transport box to the colony room, transferred the first subject to the transport box, and returned to the running room. Then, the subject was