Age, sex, and handedness differentially contribute to neurospatial function on the Memory Island and Novel-Image Novel-Location tests

Brian J. Piper, Summer F. Acevedo, Krystle R. Edwards, Alan B. Curtiss, Gwendolyn J. McGinnis, Jacob Raber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Memory Island and the Novel-Image Novel-Location are recently developed measures of spatial learning and recognition-memory modeled after the Morris water maze and the novel object-recognition tests. The goal of this study was to characterize how sex, age, and handedness contribute to Memory Island and Novel-Image Novel-Location performance. Volunteers (N = 287, ages 6 to 67) from a local science museum completed four Memory Island trials containing a visible target and four trials containing a hidden target. A pronounced sex difference favoring males was noted in all measures of hidden trial performance. The total latency during the hidden trials among older-adults was longer than younger-adults or adolescents. Faster and more efficient performance by males was also identified during the visible trials, particularly among children. Adolescents and younger-adults outperformed children and older ages. Sinistrals had a lower cumulative distance to the target. Novel-Image Novel-Location behavior was examined in a separate sample (N = 128, ages 6 to 86). Females had higher Novel-Image and Novel-Location scores than males. Novel-Image performance was independent of age while sinistrals had elevated Novel-Image scores relative to dextrals. Together, these findings identify how sex, age, and handedness uniquely contribute to performance on these tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-522
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 6 2011



  • Aging
  • Female
  • Learning
  • Left-handedness
  • Memory
  • Sinistrality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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