The object displacement task is a popular tool used to investigate spatial learning and memory. However, little attention has previously been given to long-term retention of spatial information following habituation to this task. Furthermore, the role of both proximal and distal cues in this type of passive retention of spatial information is controversial. In Study 1, we examined habituation in the object displacement task across 4 days and examined reactivity to spatial change 7 days post-acquisition. We found that rats habituated rapidly to the environment and retained this environment for the 7 days. Furthermore, this experiment shows that both proximal and distal spatial cues are important in the encoding of the environment during object displacement learning task. In Study 2, we examined the effect of overshadowing and demonstrate that proximal visual spatial cues can overshadow distal spatial cues if a conflict arises between both set. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.