Age dependent changes in retention in rats

Paul E. Gold, James L. McGaugh, Linda L. Hankins, Robert P. Rose, Beatriz J. Vasquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


These experiments examined the retention of newly acquired responses in 70-day-, 1-year-, and 2-year-old (Fischer 344) rats. In the first experiment, the rats were trained in a one-trial inhibitory (passive) avoidance task and retention performance was tested after training-test intervals ranging from 2 hrs to 6 weeks. When tested 2 hrs after training, 2-year-old rats performed significantly better than did 70-day-old rats. However, at longer intervals, the decline in retention performance (i.e., rate of forgetting) varied directly with age. Two-year-old rats exhibited more rapid loss of the avoidance response than did 70-day-old rats. One-year-old rats exhibited intermediate rates of forgetting. A second experiment examined retention performance tested 1, 7, or 21 days after training in a discriminated avoidance task. In this task as well, the rate of decline in retention performance varied directly with age. Thus, these findings suggest that aged Fischer 344 rats forget recently acquired information more rapidly than do younger rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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