The T-maze can be used to assess spatial learning and alternation behavior. Like the radial maze, this task is used primarily as a “foraging” task.
The T-maze is a choice task. The subject is placed in the base of the “T”. Following a short delay, it is allowed to explore the maze and choose to enter either the right or left arms. The choice is scored according to variety of criterion, including spontaneous alternation, cued reward, or to indicate a preference. Based on the criterion used in an experiment, the T-maze can be used to test learning and memory, preferences for stimuli or reward, or spontaneous alternation behavior.
A variation on this experiment is the Y-maze, which is use to assess spontaneous alternation in mice in a continuous session without subjecting the mice to repeated handling by the experimenter. This variation can also shed light on locomotor activity since the mouse can complete as many trials as it can within a set time constraint.