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Morris Water Maze shape: circular or square?

Matt Jones jonesmat at physiology.wisc.edu
Fri Oct 18 11:20:01 EST 2002

"Jean-Etienne Poirrier" <jepoirrier at nospam.free.fr> wrote in message news:<anhiuf$ga8 at aix4.segi.ulg.ac.be>...
> I was wondering if the shape of the pool in the Morris Water Maze is 
> important or not. Usually, I see circular pools in papers. But I was 
> wondering if one cannot use square-shaped (like a huge box) pool.
> And isn't there MWM-specific newsgroup and/or mailing-list? I search them 
> with Google but didn't find anything.
> Thanks in advance.
> Jean-Etienne


(caution: I am not an expert on this and probably don't know what I'm
talking about)

The Morris water Maze is usually used to evaluate -spatial- learning.
One main issue in this area is to what extent the animal might use
cues in the environment to navigate, especially visual cues. If you
use a round maze, then the geography of the maze itself doesn't
provide any cues (i.e., it looks the same in any direction). Then the
experimenter can control the positions of any cues that he/she wishes
to add. If you use a square maze, then there is a built in set of four
cues (the corners) that are fixed and can't be controlled by the

There was a MWM mail list at one point, or maybe a more general
hippocampus/spatial learning list, but the last posts I saw on it were
from several years ago.


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