The Effects of a Target–stimulus Reminder on Performance in a Novel Object Recognition Task

Publication Title

Learning and Motivation

Publication Date


Document Type





psychology, memory, forgetting, target-stimulus, novel object-recognition




The effects of original training-stimulus pre-test reminders were examined in a novel object recognition(NOR) task. NOR is a task that examines memory for complex stimuli, and is driven by the rats’ tendency to spend significantly more time exploring novel objects over those previously experienced. In this task, a delay is imposed between a training experience during which the animal is allowed to investigate a set of identical objects, and a later test exposure where the animal encounters one of the original objects and a novel object with which it has had no previous experience. Experiment 1 demonstrated that performance at 24 h is significantly worse than at an immediate delay (1 min). In the second experiment, it was demonstrated that neither a 10-s nor a 30-s reminder treatment, in the absence of training, resulted in a level of preference for novelty, a measure of memory for the original object, that was significantly greater than chance. Experiment 3 illustrated significant performance effects of a 30-s training stimulus reminder administered 15 min prior to test with a 24-h retention interval. The final experiment illustrated that the additional 30-s of object exposure is effective in enhancing performance only if it occurs shortly prior to test. Animals receiving the additional 30-s immediately following training did not experience such beneficial effects. It was concluded, based upon these results, that pre-test training-stimulus reminders in this task produce effects similar to those seen in more traditional tasks of learning and memory.