Effects of Endocrine State on Sociosexual Behavior of Female Rats Tested in a Complex Environment

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The influence of both natural and artificially induced endocrine states on sociosexual behavior of the female rat was examined during 15-min behavioral observations in a complex testing apparatus that allowed the test females to control their contacts with sexually active and passive males and ovariectomized (OVX) females. Factor analysis of the behavioral measures for all test females indicated separate loadings on a lordotic behavior factor; a factor for the test females' preference for proximity to OVX females or passive males; and a factor for the test females' locomotion between portions of the testing apparatus. Behavioral variables loading on these factors were influenced by endocrine state, but the nature of the relation between behaviors and endocrine state varied between factors. The utility of the present testing situation in investigations of the neuroendocrine substrates underlying the motivational aspects of feminine reproductive behavior is examined.

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