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Title: The influence of early handling on the temporal sequence of activity and exploratory behaviour in the rat
Author: Wells, Pamela Ann
ISNI:       0000 0001 3565 6526
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1975
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The long and short term effects of brief handling of laboratory rats between birth and weaning have so far been shown to be mainly physiological in nature. Recent evidence indicates, however, that investigatory behaviour in adult animals may also be affected. The area of exploratory behaviour is receiving increasing attention, but there have been comparatively few studies relating this to early experience. Following a brief review of each topic, a series of studies is therefore reported in which the behaviour of handled and non-handled rats is compared in a variety of experimental situations. These range from situations giving considerable opportunity for locomotor investigation to others in which responses to specific aspects of the environment can be observed. In addition, the behaviour of males and females is compared and responses to each situation recorded over a number of trials. Results from these experiments indicate that a variety of tests can distinguish behaviourally between handled and non-handled animals, but that the locomotor measures were least satisfactory in this respect and also revealed fewer interactions between the variables of Handling, Sex and Trials, although females had higher locomotor scores than males. However, handledanimals tended to approach novel objects more rapidly and to spend more time investigating them than did non-handled; they also scored higher on tests of home cage emergence. Statistical interactions in these situations were frequently found, indicating the complexity of the effects of early handling. In addition, differences between the groups tended to persist over repeated trials. It is concluded that early handling is capable of producing effects upon subsequent investigatory behaviour, either in addition to or in place of the lower-level processes of emotionality and locomotor activity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Behavioral Sciences