his only maze study was that he fell
in love with one of his fellow maze-running colleagues, Lucy Day, whom
he eventually married.
Mazes reached their experimental
heyday in the 1930s and 1940s, when
Tolman could claim that rat behavior
at a choice point was the key to
psychological knowledge and not be
laughed off the stage. In those days,
mazes were the apparatus of choice
in the battles among competing
learning theorists (e.g., Tolman, Hull).
Today, mazes continue to be used by
experimental psychologists. The goal is
no longer to understand maze learning
per se; rather, the maze is just another
useful tool for examining such topics as
drug effects and spatial memory.
C. James Goodwin, PhD, is professor
emeritus at Western Carolina University.
Katharine S. Milar, PhD, of Earlham
College, is historical editor for “Time
• Miles, W.R. (1930). On the history
of research with rats and mazes: A
collection of notes. Journal of General
Psychology, 3, 324–337.
• Olton, D.S. (1979). Mazes, maps,
and memory. American Psychologist, 34,
• Small, W.S. (1901). Experimental
study of the mental processes of the
rat. American Journal of Psychology, 12,
• Tolman, E.C. (1948). Cognitive
maps in rats and men. Psychological
Review, 55, 189–208.
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