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J Vis Exp. 2014 Feb 20;(84):e51316. doi: 10.3791/51316.

Automated visual cognitive tasks for recording neural activity using a floor projection maze.

Author information

1
Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University.
2
Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University; Department of Neuroscience, Brown University; rebecca_burwell@brown.edu.

Abstract

Neuropsychological tasks used in primates to investigate mechanisms of learning and memory are typically visually guided cognitive tasks. We have developed visual cognitive tasks for rats using the Floor Projection Maze(1,2) that are optimized for visual abilities of rats permitting stronger comparisons of experimental findings with other species. In order to investigate neural correlates of learning and memory, we have integrated electrophysiological recordings into fully automated cognitive tasks on the Floor Projection Maze(1,2). Behavioral software interfaced with an animal tracking system allows monitoring of the animal's behavior with precise control of image presentation and reward contingencies for better trained animals. Integration with an in vivo electrophysiological recording system enables examination of behavioral correlates of neural activity at selected epochs of a given cognitive task. We describe protocols for a model system that combines automated visual presentation of information to rodents and intracranial reward with electrophysiological approaches. Our model system offers a sophisticated set of tools as a framework for other cognitive tasks to better isolate and identify specific mechanisms contributing to particular cognitive processes.

PMID:
24638057
PMCID:
PMC4130232
DOI:
10.3791/51316
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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