The current experiment investigated ontogenetic forgetting on a novel object-recognition task similar to that of Besheer and Bevins. 18-day-old pups (n = 49) and adult (n = 29) rats were tested at two retention intervals (1 min. or 120 min.). By employing exclusion criteria which demanded minimum amounts of object exploration at training and test, the performance of 18-day-old pups but not that of adults was significantly impaired at 120 min. relative to 1 min. Analysis indicated that the ontogeny of the learning and memory measured in novel object recognition follows a developmental trend similar to that of other forms of learning, with older animals remembering more and thus performing better than younger animals. Unfortunately, given the extreme variability inherent to the task and large N necessary to achieve significance, the use of this task in studies of learning, memory, and development is discouraged.
Anderson, Matthew J.; Barnes, Gary W.; Briggs, James F.; Ashton, Katie M.; Moody, Erik W.; Joynes, Robin L.; Riccio, David C. (2004). Effects of Ontogeny on Performance of Rats in a Novel Object-recognition Task. Psychological Reports 94(2) 437-443. doi: 10.2466/pr0.94.2.437-443. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/psycpubs/27