Jeffrey Alberts

Jeffrey Alberts
Indiana University Bloomington | IUB · Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

PhD

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171
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Publications (171)
Article
Maternal antibiotic (ABx) exposure can significantly perturb the transfer of microbiota from mother to offspring, resulting in dysbiosis of potential relevance to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Studies in rodent models have found long‐term neurobehavioral effects in offspring of ABx‐treated dams, but ASD‐releva...
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Profound effects of spaceflight on the physiology of humans and non-human animals are well-documented but incompletely explored. Current goals to undertake interplanetary missions increase the urgency to learn more about adaptation to prolonged spaceflight and readaptation to Earth-normal conditions, especially with the inclusion of radiation expos...
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We identify the significance and typical requirements of developmental analyses of the microbiome-gut-brain (MGB) in parents, offspring, and parent-offspring relations, which have particular importance for neurobehavioral outcomes in mammalian species, including humans. We call for a focus on behavioral measures of social-emotional function. Method...
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Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathophysiology of numerous terrestrial disease processes and associated with morbidity following spaceflight. Furthermore, oxidative stress has long been considered a causative agent in adverse reproductive outcomes. The purpose of this review is to summarize the pathogenesis of oxidative stress caused b...
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Oxytocin is a social and reproductive hormone that also plays critical roles in a range of homeostatic processes, including thermoregulation. Here, we examine the role of oxytocin (OT) as a mediator of brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis, cold-induced huddling, and positive thermotaxis in eight-day-old (PD8) OT 'knock out' (OTKO) mouse pups. W...
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Body temperature regulation involves the development of responses to cold and warm challenges. Matching our understanding of the development of body temperature regulation to warm challenges with that of cold challenges will enhance our understanding of the ontogeny of thermoregulation and reveal different adaptive specializations. Warm and cold th...
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Temperature has pervasive yet highly context-dependent effects on bodies, brains, and behavior. Recognizing the thermal and energetic constraints emerging from interaction between organisms and the niches they inhabit is thus critical for a comparative understanding of behavior and cognition. Critically, differences in ambient thermal conditions ca...
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Mouse pups () placed on the midline of a mesh floor suspended over an empty area bounded by 2 odor fields, 1 containing homecage bedding and the other clean bedding, preferentially selected the homecage area when tested on postnatal day (PD) 5, 10, or 12. PD5 pups given a choice of homecage bedding versus age-matched bedding from another litter sho...
Chapter
Understanding how prenatal experience shapes function is fundamental knowledge with profound implications for developmental research and clinical approaches. In this chapter, we review four conceptual and/or mechanistic advances that have influenced our empirical studies of fetal and perinatal rats. These are: (1) Developmental Origins of Adult Dis...
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The current understanding of the activity of mammalian pheromones is that endocrine and behavioural effects are limited to the exposed individuals. Here, we demonstrate that the nasal exposure of female mice to a male murine pheromone stimulates expansion of mammary glands, leading to prolonged nursing of pups. Subsequent behavioural testing of the...
Article
Sleep and ongoing cycling of sleep states are required for neurosensory processing, learning, and brain plasticity. Many aspects of neonatal intensive care environments such as handling for routine and invasive procedures, bright lighting, and noise can create stress, disrupt behavior, and interfere with sleep in prematurely born infants. The study...
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After a 16-year hiatus, Russia has resumed its program of biomedical research in space, with the successful 30-day flight of the Bion-M 1 biosatellite (April 19-May 19, 2013). The principal species for biomedical research in this project was the mouse. This paper presents an overview of the scientific goals, the experimental design and the mouse tr...
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Our goal is for this chapter to alter the way you look at life. More specifically, we think we can open your eyes to new, interesting, and important ways to see, to understand, and to appreciate development. Recognition that development is an important part of the scientific study of animal behavior has a very respectable history (Chapter 2). Niko...
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Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a thermogenic effector abundant in most mammalian infants. For multiparous species such as rats and mice, the interscapular BAT deposit provides both an emergency "thermal blanket" and a target for nestmates seeking warmth, thereby increasing the cohesiveness of huddling groups. Sex differences in BAT regulation and th...
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Ohlsson and Jacobs1 have again examined the NIDCAP and the research on its efficacy. The Board of Directors of the NIDCAP Federation International (NFI) deems their report an invalid and misleading evaluation of a well-established and demonstrably effective program. In fact, they summarize an array of impressive results, most from randomized contr...
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Understanding the developmental origins of congenital capabilities such as sucking is fundamental knowledge that can contribute to improving the clinical management of early feeding and facilitate the onset of oral ingestion. We describe analyses in rats showing that sensory stimulation in utero and during birth establishes the newborn's sucking re...
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Traditionally, the development of oral feeding is viewed as a continuous, unitary process in which reflex-dominated sucking behavior gives rise to a more varied and volitional feeding behavior. In contrast, we consider the thesis that the infant develops two separable ingestive systems, one for suckling and one for feeding. First, we apply an evolu...
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We introduce a general approach for calculating the expected frequency of different types of dyadic interactions between animals and illustrate it with two applications. The first application determines whether there are sex contact biases between male and female Norway rat pups. We hypothesized that opposite-sex contact biases should be small, bec...
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Phenomena in behavior and their underlying neural mechanisms are exquisitely complex problems. Infrequently do we reflect on our basic strategies of investigation and analysis, or formally confront the actual challenges of achieving an understanding of the phenomena that inspire research. Philip Teitelbaum is distinct in his elegant approaches to u...
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Central oxytocin mediates the acquisition of a filial preference for maternal odour in rat pups, manifested by their huddling preferences. The present study was designed to examine whether maternal care modulates oxytocin concentrations in rat pups and, if so, how different types of maternal contact are associated with the pups' oxytocin concentrat...
Article
During a single, 2-hr session with a scented foster dam, preweanling rat pups form an affiliative attraction to an odor associated with the maternal caregiver, manifest as a huddling preference. To identify maternal stimuli that induce this filial preference, we quantitatively examined behavioral interactions during odor conditioning. Bout duration...
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The present study was designed to examine possible roles of oxytocin (OT) in the acquisition of a filial huddling preference in preweanling rats. We used a procedure in which a scented, foster mother can induce an odor-guided huddling preference in preweanling pups, following a single, 2-h-long co-habitation (Kojima and Alberts, 2009, 2011). This s...
Article
Olfactory-guided huddling is learned and expressed by postnatal day (PND) 15, when rat pups huddle preferentially with conspecifics or with targets bearing an odor previously associated with maternal care. Experiment 1 replicated this induction of an odor-guided huddling preference with a truncated regime of conditioning with a scented foster dam....
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The concept of ontogenetic niche is used here to interpret how species-typical behaviors develop through active, context-dependent processes. Ontogenetic niches typically include social stimuli, such as those arising from parents, siblings, and others that provide 'nurturing' in the form of resources, stimulation, and affordances for development. T...
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Pregnant rats were flown on the NASA Space Shuttle during the early developmental period of their fetuses' vestibular apparatus and onset of vestibular function. The authors report that prenatal spaceflight exposure shapes vestibular-mediated behavior and central morphology. Postflight testing revealed (a) delayed onset of body righting responses,...
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Rat pups are capable of behavioral thermoregulation, both in the nest and on a thermocline, as early as the 1st week of postnatal life, and these pups can also produce heat metabolically without shivering. The rat pup's primary source of nonshivering thermogenesis is the sympathetically mediated metabolism of brown adipose tissue (BAT). BAT is well...
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Our understanding of prenatal behavior has been significantly advanced by techniques for direct observation and manipulation of unanesthetized, behaving rodent fetuses with intact umbilical connections to the mother. These techniques involve brief administration of an inhalant anesthesic, enabling spinal transection of the rat or mouse dam, after w...
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Plasma catecholamines in newborn rats (0-2 hr old) were analyzed following vaginal birth, cesarean section with simulated labor contractions, or cesarean section without labor contractions. Upon delivery, pups were exposed to key elements of the rat's natural birth process, that is, umbilical cord occlusion, tactile stimulation, and cooling. Only p...
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A full account of behavioral development in rats must include the ontogeny of both individual and group behavior. Most of our accumulated knowledge, however, pertains to individual ontogenesis. Group behavior and its development are readily seen in the huddling behavior of rat pups. A rat huddle is an entity with characteristics and capabilities di...
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Infant mice (Mus musculus) born to dams housed in isolation throughout pregnancy (IsoPreg) begin differentially approaching homenest bedding over clean bedding on Postnatal Day 6. Offspring of dams housed with 2 other potentially pregnant conspecifics (SocPreg) display such homing behavior on Day 4. Earlier onset of homing reflects facilitated olfa...
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Negative geotaxis, an automatic, reliable, stimulus-bound, orientation and movement directionally against gravitational cues, is often used for behavioral assessments of infant rodents. We summarize historical and contemporary analyses and conclude that negative geotaxis does not exist in infant rats. Infant rodents placed on inclined surfaces (ran...
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Adaptation is a central precept of biology; it provides a framework for identifying functional significance. We equate mammalian development with adaptation, by viewing the developmental sequence as a series of adaptations to a stereotyped sequence of habitats. In this way development is adaptation. The Norway rat is used as a mammalian model, and...
Chapter
This chapter presents brief overviews of the growth of the Norway rat pup and differentiation of behavioral systems. There follows a kind of "ethogram" of early postnatal behavior in Rattus norvegicus, intended to put into a more natural context some of the processes of sensory and motor development, with an emphasis on information that can be used...
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The International Space Station (ISS) is a confined environment. Great care is taken by NASA to preserve this environment and minimize any negative impact on the well-being of the crew. One area of concern is environmental odors, particularly malodors. This concern involves both crew comfort and crew safety, as many environmental emergencies are si...
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Infant rats (Rattus norvegicus) placed on a shallow incline (2 degrees, 4 degrees, or 8 degrees) oriented and moved downhill within 1 min; that is, they displayed positive geotaxis. Their downhill translocation increased with angle of inclination. A variety of possible behavioral elements (e.g., initial orientation, rotational movements, ambulatory...
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Late-pregnant rat dams were flown on a 9-day Space Shuttle mission or exposed to 1.5, 1.75 or 2-g centrifugation and compared with 1 .O-g vivarium controls. Exposure to altered gravity began on the 11th day and recovery occurred on the 20th day of the dams' 22-day pregnancy. In the 1 st experiment, comparisons were made between Flight (FLT), Synchr...
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The topics addressed in this issue include: 1) Biosatellites: Past, Present, and Future; 2) Plant Physiology; 3) Neural/Sensory; 4) Musculoskeletal; 5) Endocrinology/Immunology; 6) Development; 7) Cardiovascular; 8) Countermeasures/Applied; 9) Technical.
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When removed from the nest and placed in a cool environment, Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) pups emit ultrasonic vocalizations that can elicit maternal search behavior. The authors examined the behavior of pregnant dams, mothers, and virgin females during exposure to a pup that was either warm and silent or cool and vocalizing. Results indicate pot...
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Mother rats (Rattus norvegicus; 6 to 8 days postpartum) approach and maintain proximal orientation to a pup that is emitting ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) far more than do virgin females (W. J. Farrell & J. R. Alberts, 2002). We used a playback regimen to examine the roles of acoustic and nonacoustic cues in regulating maternal proximal orientati...
Article
When removed from the nest and placed in a cool environment, Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) pups emit ultrasonic vocalizations that can elicit maternal search behavior. The authors examined the behavior of pregnant dams, mothers, and virgin females during exposure to a pup that was either warm and silent or cool and vocalizing. Results indicate pot...
Article
Mother rats (Rattus norvegicus; 6 to 8 days postpartum) approach and maintain proximal orientation to a pup that is emitting ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) far more than do virgin females (W. J. Farrell & J. R. Alberts, 2002). We used a playback regimen to examine the roles of acoustic and nonacoustic cues in regulating maternal proximal orientati...
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Under standard conditions involving isolation and cooling, it has been documented that intraoral infusion of milk and injection of the intestinal peptide cholecystokinin (CCK) result in an attenuation in ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) emitted by infant rat pups. One of the most effective stimuli in inhibiting ingestion in suckling rat pups is gastr...
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Ten pregnant Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) were flown for 11 days on board the NASA space shuttle from gestational day 9 (launch) until gestational day 20 (landing) of the rats' 22-day pregnancy. After the birth of the pups, vestibular responses were analyzed from postnatal day (P) 0 until P5. In the first test, P0 neonates were supported on a pl...
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Rat pups (Rattus norvegicus) are born blind and deaf yet manage to wriggle about in a huddle, dynamically adjusting their positions and thereby displaying thermoregulation and energy conservation at the level of the group. As pups develop, their activity and mobility outpace the development of their visual and auditory systems making it increasingl...
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Our anatomical and behavioral studies of embryonic rats that developed in microgravity suggest that the vestibular sensory system, like the visual system, has genetically mediated processes of development that establish crude connections between the periphery and the brain. Environmental stimuli also regulate connection formation including terminal...
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This study investigated the direct and indirect effects of male Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) urine on reproductive, developmental, and fecundity parameters in the dam and her female offspring. Twenty-two dams and litters were studied: 11 in male urine and 11 in distilled water conditions. Only dams were exposed to male urine (or distilled water)...
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Rat pups emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) during cold challenge. R. F. Kirby and M. S. Blumberg (1998) suggested that when brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis fails to compensate for body heat loss and heart rate declines, infant pups maintain venous return to the heart with a mechanical maneuver that is accompanied by ultrasonic emissions...
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The events of parturition (labor, delivery, maternal care, placentophagia, and onset of nursing) were analyzed in female Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) flown on either 11- or 9-day-long spaceflights beginning at the approximate midpoint of their pregnancies. Each space shuttle flight landed on the 20th day of the rats' pregnancies, just 48-72 h be...
Article
Rat pups emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) during cold challenge. R. F. Kirby and M. S. Blumberg (1998) suggested that when brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis fails to compensate for body heat loss and heart rate declines, infant pups maintain venous return to the heart with a mechanical maneuver that is accompanied by ultrasonic emissions...
Article
The effects of spaceflight on mammary metabolism of 10 pregnant rats was measured on Day 20 of pregnancy and after parturition. Rats were flown on the space shuttle from Day 11 through Day 20 of pregnancy. After their return to earth, glucose oxidation to carbon dioxide increased 43% (P < 0.05), and incorporation into fatty acids increased 300% (P...
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The effects of spaceflight on mammary metabolism of 10 pregnant rats was measured on Day 20 of pregnancy and after parturition. Rats were flown on the space shuttle from Day 11 through Day 20 of pregnancy. After their return to earth, glucose oxidation to carbon dioxide increased 43% (P < 0.05), and incorporation into fatty acids increased 300% (P...
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Organisms live in four dimensions. With the dimension of time, we recognize that each organism is a lifecycle--an expression of its development. The cycles of differentiation expressed in the timeframe of biotic evolution yields the diversity of life on Earth. Thus, phylogenesis, can be understood as alterations in developmental processes. Species...
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The effect of space flight in a National Aeronautics and Space Administration shuttle was studied in pregnant rats. Rats were launched on day 11 of gestation and recovered on day 20 of gestation. Pregnancy was allowed to proceed to term and rats delivered vaginally on days 22-23, although flight animals required more labour contractions to complete...
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Hoffman, Flory, and Alberts (1999) demonstrated that 1-, 5-, and 11-day-old rats in a cool environment (25 degrees C) acquired an operant head-turning response when rewarded with a 20-s warming of the platform on which they lay. In the current experiment 5- and 11-day-old rats in a hot environment (40 degrees C) acquired the head-turning response w...
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One-, 5-, and 11-day-old rats in a cool environment (25 degrees C) acquired an operant response when rewarded with a 20-s-long warming of the platform (from 25 to 36 degrees C) on which they lay. In Experiment 1, the head-turning response was learned by pups at all ages. When the contingency was reversed so that pups were reinforced for turning to...
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Hoffman, Flory, and Alberts (1999) demonstrated that 1-, 5-, and Ii-day-old rats in a cool environment (25 degrees C) acquired an operant head-turning response when rewarded with a 20-s warming of the platform on which they lay. In the current experiment 5- and 11-day-old rats in a hot environment (40 degrees C) acquired the head-turning response w...
Article
One-, 5-, and II-day-old rats in a cool environment (25 degrees C) acquired an operant response when rewarded with a 20-s-long warming of the platform (from 25 to 36 degrees C) on which they lay. In Experiment I, the head-turning response was learned by pups at all ages. When the contingency was reversed so that pups were reinforced for turning to...
Article
In adult rats, oxytocin (OT) has been shown to reduce the intake of both food and fluids, and oxytocinergic cells are activated by gastric distension and administration of the intestinal peptide cholecystokinin (CCK-8). These and other findings indicate that OT can play a role in inhibiting ingestion under some conditions. A previous study has show...
Article
Pregnant rats were flown on a NASA space shuttle during days 11-20 of gestation and the effects of pregnancy maintenance and uterine myometrial smooth muscle were evaluated. There was no effect of space flight on fetal mass in rats examined at recovery on day 20 of gestation (G-20). Rats allowed to go to term delivered vaginally at days 22-23, but...
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We hypothesized that first ingestion of solid food (weaning onset) would be accelerated in young rats with advanced thermoregulatory development. To manipulate the pups' thermoregulatory development, we exposed rat pups, but not their dams, to a Cold (10 degrees C), Moderate (21 degrees C), or Warm (31 degrees C) ambience for 2 h/day from postnatal...
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Pregnant rats, flown on the space shuttle during days 11 to 20 of gestation, and then returned to earth, deliver their young on day 22, similar to controls. However, analysis of the parturitions on gestation day 22, revealed significantly more labor contractions in flight animals (Alberts et al., ASGSB Bull. 10 (1):29 (1996). In the myometrium, gap...
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The fetus' experience of birth derives from a sequence of stimulation provided by the mother's labor contractions, her licking and handling, and the contrasting environmental conditions of the uterus and outside world. In the present investigation, Day 21 fetal rats were externalized from the dam's body; subjects in one uterine horn were compressed...
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Starting at infancy and continuing throughout adult life, huddling is a major component of the behavioral repertoire of Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus). Huddling behavior maintains the cohesion of litters throughout early life, and in adulthood, it remains a consistent feature of social behavior of R. norvegicus. During infancy, rats have severely...
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Results of the NASA-NIH.R1 and NASA-NIH.R2 pregnant rat studies are reported and compared with results of Cosmos-1514 study. Similarities and differences between the Cosmos and STS flights are reviewed. STS rats were videotaped so that in-flight and post-flight behavior could be observed. Rats were observed during readaptation to 1-g and labor and...
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Researchers evaluated vestibular development and function in rat pups flown during gestation on the NASA-NIH R1 and R2 missions. Fetal and postnatal vestibular function were examined. Altered vestibular-mediated responses in the experimental fetal pups are attributed to either direct effect of gravity on the vestibular system or indirect effects of...
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Twenty-day-old litters and their dams were observed in seminatural habitats consisting of a nest compartment and adjacent open field that contained powdered rat chow. It was found that pups displayed marked bursts of activity after suckling. Independent feeding reliably followed nursing bout termination (Experiment 1). Nipple withdrawal, with or wi...
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One-day-old rats in a cool environment (25 degrees C) quickly acquired an instrumental response when rewarded with a 20-s warming of the platform (from 25 degrees C to 36 degrees C) on which they lay. The instrumental response, turning the head to one side, was learned within 30 min after the thermal contingency began and extinguished when the cont...
Chapter
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In recent years, a small group of animal behaviorists has been calling for a renewed focus on proximate mechanisms in the study of behavioral evolution (Kennedy, 1992; Stamps, 1991). These calls have been made to counter the current view, implicit in most contemporary analyses of animal behavior, that we can understand ultimate causation without wo...
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To assess prenatal and postnatal developmental status in the offspring of a group of animals, it is typical to examine fetuses from some of the dams as well as infants born to the remaining dams. Statistical limitations often arise, particularly when the animals are rare or especially precious, because all offspring of the dam represent only a sing...
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The present report describes psychobiological studies of behavior around the time of birth. An adaptive, ecological perspective is presented in which stimulation of the fetus and newborn is purported to instigate adaptive postpartum behavior. Studies describing the perinatal sensory environment are reviewed, with a consideration of emergent sensory...