Bow Tie Maze


Our Bow Tie Maze is a cognitive assessment tool for rodents. Engineered with precision and scientific rigor, this maze incorporates labyrinthine pathways to evaluate spatial learning and memory in rodent subjects. Crafted from durable materials, it ensures consistent and reproducible results in behavioral studies. Designed for seamless integration into experimental protocols, the Bow Tie Maze enhances researchers’ ability to investigate complex cognitive functions in a controlled environment. Elevate your neurobehavioral research.

The Bow-Tie Maze was described by Albasser et al, 2010 for rodents. The test is a novel object recognition assay that assesses recognition memory. It is derived from a combination of spontaneous object exploration and the nonhuman primate delayed nonmatching-to-sample tests established in 1975.

Testing Rationale for the Bow Tie Maze

  • The Bow-Tie Maze assess recognition memory that can be explored in normal conditions with an assessment of animal strains or with a pathophysiological assessment of hippocampal, fornix, or perirhinal cortex function.
  • Impaired function of either structure allows for assessment of recognition memory

Bow Tie Maze Apparatus

  • Species: Used for either mice or rats.
  • Colors: Wall color options are clear (transparent) or opaque (Black, White, Grey, Créme).
  • Customizations: The maze can be customized to include a light and dark area, similar to the Light-Dark Box test but instead paired with novel objects or odors.
  • Dimensions: The maze is a length of 47 inches (120cm), 20 inches wide (50cm), and 20 inches in height (50cm). The corridor with the guillotine door is a width of 5 inches (12cm).
  • Stimulus: Food wells are small depressions in the floor of the maze (reward pots) that are covered by the objects used to encourage exploration/interaction. The wells are 2cm deep (~0.75in) with a diameter of 3.5cm (~1.33 in). The reward pots/objects are separated by a divider that protrudes from the middle of the wall by 6 inches (15cm).

Bow Tie Maze Procedure

  • The animal is placed on one end of the bow-tie apparatus that contains one novel object. After one minute, the guillotine door is lifted and the animal can explore the opposite end that has two different objects, Object A and Object B.
  • On this opposite end of the maze with the two objects, one object is the same as the opposite end of the maze while the other object is different. After every minute that the trial runs, objects are changed so that one object once novel, becomes familiar as the animal is introduced to novel objects during each trial.
  • Food is used as a reward to encourage exploration and interaction with objects. Some animals can explore without food rewards.

Data Analysis with the Bow Tie Maze

The results of the Bow-Tie Maze test are a reflection of recognition memory. Data collected can include:

  • Recognition performance: mean performance and retention interval (logarithmic scale)
  • Chance = failure to discriminate novel from familiar

Result Interpretation

  • Trial testing periods are short (1 minute). As a result, performance may be low after long retention periods and the number of objects to “memorize” increases.

Software Analysis

  • Automated behavioral tracking software: View our list of recommended software for behavioral analysis (Feb 2020).

Additional Equipment

  • Centre Scientific Motorized Camera Stand with Robotic Articulating Arm to record trial sessions.


  1. Albasser, M. M., Chapman, R. J., Amin, E., Iordanova, M. D., Vann, S. D., & Aggleton, J. P. (2010). New behavioral protocols to extend our knowledge of rodent object recognition memoryLearning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.)17(8), 407–419. doi:10.1101/lm.1879610
  2. Scott, H., Rogers, M. F., Scott, H. L., Campbell, C., Warburton, E. C., & Uney, J. B. (2017). Recognition memory-induced gene expression in the perirhinal cortex: A transcriptomic analysisBehavioural brain research328, 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2017.04.007.
  3. Powell, A. L., Vann, S. D., Olarte-Sánchez, C. M., Kinnavane, L., Davies, M., Amin, E., … Nelson, A. (2017). The retrosplenial cortex and object recency memory in the ratThe European journal of neuroscience45(11), 1451–1464. doi:10.1111/ejn.13577.
  4. Kinnavane, L., Amin, E., Olarte-Sánchez, C. M., & Aggleton, J. P. (2017). Medial temporal pathways for contextual learning: Network c-fos mapping in rats with or without perirhinal cortex lesionsBrain and neuroscience advances1, 2398212817694167. doi:10.1177/2398212817694167.
  5. Kinnavane, L., Amin, E., Olarte-Sánchez, C. M., & Aggleton, J. P. (2016). Detecting and discriminating novel objects: The impact of perirhinal cortex disconnection on hippocampal activity patternsHippocampus26(11), 1393–1413. doi:10.1002/hipo.22615

Additional information

Weight 50 lbs
Dimensions 20 × 20 × 20 in

Mouse, Rat



Maze Type

Elevated, Enclosed


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