Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

Effects of Acute Exposure to Blue Light on Spatial Memory in Rats

Publication Date

Winter 12-1-2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Jordyn Wilcox

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


Biological life has evolved to be innately influenced by light as it has always developed in the context of the day-night light cycle. Alterations in intensity, wavelength, and exposure period desynchronize normal circadian rhythms and can lead to impairments in learning and memory. Previous studies have shown that acute exposure (10 minutes) to blue light can impact spatial memory and damage involved brain structures like the hippocampus. However, it remains unclear how repeated acute blue light exposure like what is experienced in a typical 12-hour day can impact spatial memory. Therefore, in the present study we examine the effects of repeated acute blue light exposure on the spatial memory of rats measured using a radial arm maze (RAM) task. In the RAM there are 8 arms with buckets at the end to collect rewards. The task was defined as collecting 4 rewards within 10 minutes from the even numbered arms. Baseline RAM performance prior to blue light exposure was evaluated based on time for task completion and number of errors. The rats were then exposed to repeated acute blue light, defined as a 12-hour exposure for 3 consecutive days. Following exposure, RAM performance was reevaluated and compared to baseline performance. Our hypothesis is as follows: spatial memory will decrease after rats are exposed to repeated acute blue light. It is expected that this blue light exposure will impair the rats’ spatial memory capacity, resulting in decreased RAM performance (i.e., increased time to complete the task and increased number of errors compared to the baseline measurement).

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