Behavior of Adult Rats Is Modified by the Experiences Their Mothers Had as Infants

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Science  29 Nov 1963:
Vol. 142, Issue 3596, pp. 1192-1193
DOI: 10.1126/science.142.3596.1192


Some rat pups were handled for 20 days in infancy, while others were not. When the rats reached adulthood the females were bred. Some of the offspring were left with their natural mothers, others were fostered to mothers of the same background (handled/nonhandled) as that of their natural mothers, while still others were fostered to mothers with a different background from that of their natural mothers. The offspring were weaned and weighed at 21 days; at 50 days, activity and defecation scores were obtained in the open field. The weights at weaning and the defecation scores at 50 days were significantly influenced by the experience in infancy of the "postnatal" mother, whether she was the natural mother or a foster mother. The natural mother and the foster mother jointly affected the open-field activity of the offspring.

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