Olfactory sensitive periods in albino rats and golden hamsters

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Examined odor preferences of 72 infant, juvenile, and adult Sprague-Dawley rats and 119 Syrian hamsters in a 2-choice situation following 3–10 days of differential olfactory exposure. Exposure increased preferences for a simple botanical odor in infants and juveniles but not adults of both species. Preference differences between exposure groups were greatest for infants, moderate for juveniles, and insignificant for adults, suggesting that olfactory sensitive periods occur in these altricial rodent species. Age of exposure differentially influenced responses to combinations of conspecific and botanical odors. Results suggest that olfactory experience has a similar impact on responses of rats and hamsters to botanical but not conspecific odors. (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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