Of mice and men: virtual Hebb-Williams mazes permit comparison of spatial learning across species

D I Shore, L Stanford, Joe MacInnes, R M Klein, R E Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)


We developed a computer-generated virtual environment to test humans, for the first time, on the Hebb-Williams mazes. The goal was to provide a standardized test that could be used to directly compare human performance with that of C57BL/6J mice performing in real versions of the mazes. Such a comparison seems crucial if conclusions regarding genetic manipulations of rodents are to be mapped onto human cognitive disorders. The learning curves across species were strikingly similar, lending support to the rodent model of human spatial memory. Humans learned faster than rodents in both the acquisition and the test portions of the protocol, and females of both species were less efficient in solving these problems than males. These results represent the first modern comparison of human and rodent learning that uses the same test of spatial problem solving.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-9
Number of pages7
JournalCognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2001



  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Mental Recall
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Orientation
  • Problem Solving
  • Reaction Time
  • Species Specificity
  • User-Computer Interface

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