Continual Trials Workshop
Spontaneous recognition tasks are widely used in academic and industrial research to assess memory for objects, places and combinations (including episodic memory). In Durham, with the support of the National Centre for the 3Rs) we have developed a continual trials approach to these tasks which provides greater statistical power from fewer animals. As a result, this continual trials approach not only reduces the number of animals required to run these tasks, but also provides opportunities for new insight into mechanisms of memory - highlighting, for example, the impact of interference on memory in a way that single trial spontaneous tasks cannot.
Recently, we have partnered with Campden Instruments to develop a commerical version of our apparatus so that all researchers can benefit from this new approach. With semi automation to assist with running multiple animals simultaneously and demonstrated comparability to standard one trial a day approaches, the new apparatus offers exciting opportunities to standardise the approach to spontaneous recognition tasks whilst continuing to allow the adaptability that makes the task so attractive.