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Exploring the Open Field Maze

The Open Field Maze (OFM) is a pivotal tool in the field of behavioral research, originally introduced in 1934 by Calvin S. Hall. It is primarily designed for assessing emotionality, general locomotor activity, anxiety, and willingness to explore in animals, predominantly rodents. This maze is a valuable resource in scientific studies, and it offers comprehensive insights into animal behavior. The OFM consists of an enclosed area with specific zones, making it an essential instrument for researchers studying the behavior of rodents.

The Open Field Maze serves as a versatile research tool for studying animal behavior, particularly in rodents. By recording their activities in this controlled environment, researchers gain valuable data related to locomotor activity levels, anxiety, and the willingness to explore. It provides insights into the emotions and reactions of these animals under various experimental conditions.

About VJ Instruments Open Field Maze

The VJ Instruments Open Field Maze is a well-crafted apparatus designed with high-end non-reflective materials. It is available in options suitable for both rats and mice. The maze comes in both circular and square shapes, with the square-shaped version featuring detachable walls and partition choices. Custom coloring options are also available to meet your specific research needs. When you acquire the Open Field Maze from VJ Instruments, it’s not just the maze you receive but can opt for a complete package, including the Licensed MazeMaster video tracking software, a camera with essential accessories like cables, IR lights, light fixtures, and a PC. This package can be used to conduct a wide range of experiments using other mazes produced by VJ Instruments, such as the radial maze, T-Maze, Y-Maze, Morris water maze, Barnes maze, Elevated Zero Maze, and more.

Tracking and Data Analysis

VJ Instruments provides a comprehensive solution for tracking rodents within the Open Field Maze. The rodent is placed at the center of the maze and observed by a camera positioned above the open field. The camera is connected to a PC with MazeMaster software installed. This software records various parameters, including time spent and the frequency of entries into inner and outer arms. Moreover, MazeMaster software provides trajectory data, indicating which zones the animals are more active in. Additional recorded parameters include the total time spent, distance traveled in open and closed arms, and the total distance covered.

In summary, the VJ Instruments Open Field Maze is an invaluable resource for behavioral research, offering a controlled and adaptable environment for studying animal behavior. The comprehensive tracking solution simplifies data collection, making it a trusted choice for researchers in the field of behavioral science.

The Open Field Maze is available in two versions, tailored for mice and rats. Here are the technical specifications for each:

ParameterFor MiceFor Rat
Dimensions Square Open Field44cm x 44cm100cm x 100cm
Diameter Circular Open Field50cm100cm
Wall Height30cm40cm
Standard ColorBlackBlack
Other Color OptionsWhite, Grey, Custom Color (Upon Order) 

Note: VJ Instruments is committed to continuous product development and improvement. As a result, specifications may be subject to change without prior notification.



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Frequently Asked Questions

The Open Field Maze is a behavioral test used to assess exploratory behavior and anxiety in rodents. It consists of an open area with defined zones, and researchers observe how animals behave in this environment.

The Open Field Maze is unique because it provides an open, unenclosed space, which allows researchers to study spontaneous exploration and anxiety-related behaviors. It differs from enclosed mazes like the Morris Water Maze.


The Open Field Maze primarily evaluates anxiety and exploratory behavior in rodents. Researchers can also assess locomotion, thigmotaxis, and other behaviors related to anxiety and novelty.

In Open Field Maze experiments, rodents are placed in the open arena, and their behavior is observed. Researchers record data related to the time spent in the center, the distance traveled, rearing behavior, and more.

Researchers have developed variations of the Open Field Maze, such as the Light/Dark Box, to assess specific aspects of anxiety and exploratory behavior. These adaptations provide insights into different behaviors.

Common measurements include the time spent in the center vs. periphery, the total distance traveled, rearing behavior, and the number of entries into different zones. These measurements help assess anxiety and exploratory behaviors.

The Open Field Maze provides insights into anxiety-related behaviors, which are critical for understanding the impact of anxiety on cognition and other aspects of behavior in rodents.


The Open Field Maze is straightforward, versatile, and widely used for assessing anxiety-related behaviors. It offers a simple way to study anxiety in rodents and the effects of treatments or interventions.

Proper hygiene and maintenance are essential. Regular cleaning and sterilization of the maze are necessary to ensure consistent experimental conditions and prevent contamination.

While the Open Field Maze is primarily used for rodents, researchers can adapt the principles to other animal models to study anxiety and exploratory behaviors.

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