Section 51
Chapter 50,763

The value of spontaneous alternation behavior (SAB) as a test of retention in pharmacological investigations of memory

Hughes, R.N.

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 28(5): 497-505


ISSN/ISBN: 0149-7634
PMID: 15465137
DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2004.06.006
Accession: 050762411

Download citation:  

Because of its reliance on memory, the tendency for rats, mice and other animals to alternate successive choices of T- or Y-maze arms has assumed considerable popularity in pharmacological studies of spatial memory as a quick and simple measure of retention that avoids the need for extensive training and the use of conventional reinforcers. Two forms of this tendency have been utilized, namely two-trial and continuous spontaneous alternation behavior (SAB). However, as the behavior can also reflect drug-related changes in sensory/attentional, motivational and performance processes, SAB should not be unquestionably accepted as a measure of memory alone. While assessments of post-acquisition drug effects on longer term memory may be possible through the appropriate timing of drug administration, this is more problematic if SAB is used as a measure of shorter term memory. Even though SAB can be a useful index of responsiveness to novelty, its value as a measure of retention is less certain. In this latter respect, a possible alternative to SAB testing might be the recently developed form of the related procedure, responsiveness to change.

PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90