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Behav Neurosci. 1995 Oct;109(5):851-8.

Spatial learning and memory as a function of age in the dog.

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Division of Life Sciences, University of Toronto, Scarborough, Canada.


Spatial learning and memory were studied in dogs of varying ages and sources. Compared to young dogs, a significantly higher proportion of aged dogs could not acquire a spatial delayed nonmatching-to-sample task. A regression analysis revealed a significant age effect during acquisition. Spatial memory was studied by comparing performance at delay interval of 20, 70, and 110 s. At short delays aged and young dogs were similar; at longer delays, errors increased to a greater extent in old than in young dogs; however this was not statistically significant. It was possible to identify 2 groups of aged animals, age-impaired and age-unimpaired. Several of the dogs were also tested on an object recognition memory task, which was more difficult to learn than the spatial task. The possibility that these findings are confounded by breed differences is considered. Overall, the present results provide further evidence of the value of a canine model of aging.

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