Effects of Acute Stress on Working Memory in Morris Water Maze
Hocker, Michelle A.
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Stress has been found to affect spatial working memory in both negative and positive directions. Some experiments have shown that an acute stressful event has the potential to facilitate a working memory task when it occurs before the task, whereas other experiments provide evidence that the stressful event may create a deficit in working memory if it occurs when a memory is being formed. In this experiment the role of stress on spatial working memory was evaluated. Male albino Sprague-Dawley rats were trained in the working memory model of the Morris Water Maze. The rats were assigned to three groups that received the acute stressful event before the presentation session, after the presentation session, or a no-stress control group. Compared to the no-stress control group, it was expected that the rats stressed before the presentation session would learn the location of the platform better, and the rats stressed after the presentation session would show a spatial working memory deficit. However, the results of the experiment did not support the hypothesis. There was no observed learning from the rats in any of the groups. This was the result of flaws in the experimental materials as well as the assumptions behind the experiment.