IOWA CITY, IA—University of Iowa neuroscientists studying spatial learning and the effects of stress on memory announced Tuesday that a little son-of-a-bitch mouse ruined an experiment on cognitive performance by effortlessly navigating a maze that researchers spent nearly a year designing and constructing.
The test subject, a common house mouse, briskly traversed the complicated wooden maze in under 30 seconds or, according to the study's final report, roughly 1/8,789,258 as long as it took the lab to secure funding for the experiment. According to researchers administrating the standard Y-maze test, the fucking bastard never even broke his stride during the first trial, always selecting the correct route while consistently avoiding blind dead-end alleys.
"We were unable to observe any statistically significant behavioral changes in the subject, largely due to the fact that he was in such a goddamn hurry to finish the maze," said Dr. Richard Barret, who was forced to estimate the mouse's various reaction times after one of his assistants smashed the lab's stopwatch in anger. "Further analysis will be required to garner any useful knowledge regarding this particular mouse's neurological processes, his reflex response to stimuli, and how in the hell that stupid jerk reached the goal without screwing up once."
Despite attempts to condition the mouse by screaming directly into its face, the researchers reported that the subject smugly completed the second and third runs of the three- dimensional spatial task with ease. A videotape of the mouse pausing during the final run has been subjected to a thorough review by the lab in order to determine if one of the maze's obstacles managed to momentarily confuse the mouse or if the test subject was, in fact, gloating.
"Had we obtained any usable data, perhaps that information would have led to the development of a cure for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's," said Dr. William Eng, who led the team responsible for creating the maze. "What is unclear at this time is why this particular mouse had to be such a dick and render useless all the work we had put into this controlled behavioral experiment."
In order to create the maze, Eng hand-drew 15 drafts of the 5-foot by-6-foot wooden puzzle and utilized 3-D-modeling software before painstakingly gluing each 7-inch-tall piece of wood together. Even though Eng said the maze's interconnecting pathways were designed to provide a challenging series of obstructions to disorient the mouse, after completing the course, the subject reportedly ran back through to the starting line twice as fast.
"It is regrettable to spend such a tremendous amount of money studying mammalian neuropathways, only to have some hotshot mouse ruin everything," Eng said. "However, we have compiled substantial data on this species's ability to breeze right in and destroy an entire postdoctoral legacy."
Repeated trials yielded similar results, with the mouse performing equally well despite added variables of Dr. Eng trying to "scoot" it back with a pen and Dr. Barret tipping the entire maze upward 45 degrees. Additional attempts to deceive the mouse by placing a reward of cheese in an impassable section of the maze were also unsuccessful.
"Taking into account my past successful experiments with chimpanzees, it is my final analysis that we are dealing with one smart little fucker," said team member Dr. Russell Sutton, who has already applied for an additional grant to study cognitive learning in the same mouse. "I wonder if he'll be so smart without a functioning hippocampus."