Presentation Type

Poster - Campus Access Only

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Nathan Insel

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Psychology

Abstract / Artist's Statement

Degus are a highly social species of rodent that have been shown to easily establish new cooperative relationships. In previous work, our lab has shown that adult female degus treat strangers similarly to cagemates, and in some cases are even more consistent in their behaviors with strangers. What remains unknown is whether this is a lifelong quality of degus or if there are stages to social learning that result in cooperative behaviors with new individuals. In the present experiment, social behavior was studied in both juvenile and adolescent degus as they interacted with either new (stranger) individuals or highly familiar, sibling cagemates. Social behavior was recorded during 20 minute “reunion” sessions following 24 hours of isolation and repeated five times for both stranger and cagemate individuals in an interleaved fashion. Preliminary examination of data show that there was no difference in the percentage of time juvenile female degus spent interacting with a cagemate versus a stranger; however, adolescent degus were found to interact more with strangers than with cagemates. Additionally, adolescent degus spent more time engaging in agonistic behavior with strangers than juveniles. This initial data suggests the possibility of a higher motivation for social learning with unfamiliar individuals during adolescence in degus.

Category

Social Sciences

Share

COinS
 
Apr 22nd, 11:00 AM Apr 22nd, 12:00 PM

Does social behavior differ between familiar and unfamiliar degus in juveniles and adolescents?

UC South Ballroom

Degus are a highly social species of rodent that have been shown to easily establish new cooperative relationships. In previous work, our lab has shown that adult female degus treat strangers similarly to cagemates, and in some cases are even more consistent in their behaviors with strangers. What remains unknown is whether this is a lifelong quality of degus or if there are stages to social learning that result in cooperative behaviors with new individuals. In the present experiment, social behavior was studied in both juvenile and adolescent degus as they interacted with either new (stranger) individuals or highly familiar, sibling cagemates. Social behavior was recorded during 20 minute “reunion” sessions following 24 hours of isolation and repeated five times for both stranger and cagemate individuals in an interleaved fashion. Preliminary examination of data show that there was no difference in the percentage of time juvenile female degus spent interacting with a cagemate versus a stranger; however, adolescent degus were found to interact more with strangers than with cagemates. Additionally, adolescent degus spent more time engaging in agonistic behavior with strangers than juveniles. This initial data suggests the possibility of a higher motivation for social learning with unfamiliar individuals during adolescence in degus.