Development of species identification in ducklings: VIII. Embryonic versus postnatal critical period for the maintenance of species-typical perception

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It was previously documented that the domestic mallard duck embryo must be exposed to its embryonic contact-contentment call at a repetition rate of 4 notes/sec for the neonate to manifest the species-typical preference for the species maternal call at its normal rate (3.7 notes/sec) after hatching. The present study examined whether the exposure to the contact call must occur in the late embryonic period to be effective. It was found that exposure for as little as 5 min/hr for 24 hrs was sufficient for normal perceptual development and that such stimulation could occur either before or after hatching, provided that a 48-hr “consolidation” period intervened between the end of stimulation and testing. (9 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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