Intersession interval affects performance in the Morris Water Maze

Kanit L. , Yilmaz O. , Taskiran D. , Balkan B. , FUREDY J., POGUN S.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, vol.96, pp.197-204, 1998 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 96
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Doi Number: 10.3109/00207459808986467
  • Page Numbers: pp.197-204


We have recently reported an effect that shows a sexually dimorphic difference in cognitive style rather than ability. The preparation for potentially producing this proximal perceptual style effect is one where rats are first given 4-trial daily acquisition sessions for 12 days with the platform always in the same position, but sometimes visible (perceptual, "look-out" condition) and sometimes hidden (conceptual, "navigational" condition). On the first, probe trial of the 13th day, the platform's position is shifted to a point very close (proximal) to the rat's starting position, and made visible. The proximal perceptual style (PPS) effect has emerged sexually dimorphically in that only females swam straight to the newly positioned proximal platform. Other studies have shown that the PPS effect is eliminated (with Females behaving like males) by nicotine and prepubertal ovariectomy, and does not occur in prepubertal females. Also, as no sex-related effects emerged during acquisition during these studies, the PPS effect appears to be a function of cognitive style rather than ability. The present study varied age, and, in an effort to economize on time, shortened acquisition to 6 days by having morning and afternoon sessions each day. To our surprise, this relatively subtle psychological manipulation eliminated the PPS effect, and also yielded some sex- and age-related effects during acquisition: A male advantage was observed and prepubertal rats had longer escape latencies; there was no significant interaction between sex and age.