Presenter Information

Alec B. DaltonFollow
Kinsey WebbFollow

Presentation Type

Poster - Campus Access Only

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Nathan Insel

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Department of Psychology

Abstract

The goal of this study was to study social learning in an animal model. Social learning is essential for survival across most animal species, and an animal model of social learning would provide a tool for understanding the brain functions that support these behaviors. Social learning was evaluated using a paradigm known as the “tube test” (Lindzey et al. 1961) which measures dominance relationships based on whether a degu advances or retreats when they encounter one-another in a tube, as well as the amount of time this interaction takes to proceed. While previous studies have examined dominance relationships using this test, these studies do not normally examine changes over time. Dyads of either cagemate (familiar) or stranger (unfamiliar) male degus were tested every day for 5 days in the tube test. One month after the first round of trials, a second round of trials will explore how the social relationships are retained over time. Preliminary observations suggest that the latencies between when the degus met in the center of the tube and one retreated did not differ between cagemate and stranger groups and did not appear to change over days. These results suggest that the tube test method may need to be further refined before it can be used as a tool to study social learning.

Category

Life Sciences

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Apr 27th, 11:00 AM Apr 27th, 12:00 PM

Social learning of male dominance relationships in degus

UC South Ballroom

The goal of this study was to study social learning in an animal model. Social learning is essential for survival across most animal species, and an animal model of social learning would provide a tool for understanding the brain functions that support these behaviors. Social learning was evaluated using a paradigm known as the “tube test” (Lindzey et al. 1961) which measures dominance relationships based on whether a degu advances or retreats when they encounter one-another in a tube, as well as the amount of time this interaction takes to proceed. While previous studies have examined dominance relationships using this test, these studies do not normally examine changes over time. Dyads of either cagemate (familiar) or stranger (unfamiliar) male degus were tested every day for 5 days in the tube test. One month after the first round of trials, a second round of trials will explore how the social relationships are retained over time. Preliminary observations suggest that the latencies between when the degus met in the center of the tube and one retreated did not differ between cagemate and stranger groups and did not appear to change over days. These results suggest that the tube test method may need to be further refined before it can be used as a tool to study social learning.