Development of olfactory control of feeding-site selection in rat pups

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The results of 4 experiments provide 2 lines of evidence consistent with the view that development of olfactory control of feeding-site selection in Long-Evans rats depends on experiences during ontogeny. (1) Normally reared Ss preferred to eat at a feeding site where either an anesthetized conspecific or conspecific excreta were present rather than at a clean site, whereas Ss reared without contact with conspecifics were not influenced in their choice of feeding-site by these social stimuli. Ss allowed contact with conspecifics for only the 5 days immediately prior to testing exhibited, like normally reared Ss, a strong preference for feeding sites marked with social stimuli. (2) Exposure of Ss to an arbitrarily selected odor rendered that odor subsequently capable of influencing feeding-site selection. Comparison of results with those of similar studies, in which a different measure of pup olfactory preference was used, revealed that the factors affecting development of olfactory preference vary as a function of test situation. (13 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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