Presentation Type

Poster - Campus Access Only

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Nathan Insel

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Neuroscience

Abstract / Artist's Statement

Degus are small, highly social rodents. When degus are reunited after periods of isolation or separation, their vocal patterns can vary. Just like humans, degus can express more vocal communication when they come out of an isolation period. This is likely due to their social drive and the desire to repair the loneliness that they might have experienced. This research aims to understand the different types of vocalizations that are expressed after adolescent degus are reunited with one-another.

This repeated measures experiment consisted of three conditions that all the degus received before behavior was recorded during a 20 minute social “reunion”. The three conditions were isolation for 24 hours, isolation for 1 minute, and separation for 24 hours. “Separation” involved separating two degus from one-another, while keeping them with other cagemates so they were not deprived of social interaction.

We found that, consistent with full adult animals, adolescent degus vocalize more after 24 hours of isolation, compared with 24-hour separation or 1-minute isolation. The most common vocalization type across all conditions was chitters. Chitters are short, repetitive sounds in the frequency range of 1-4 kHz. Previous work suggests that chitters may be a type of vocalization that is important for social acknowledgement or connection. The results from this experiment are valuable because they can be related to the psychology of social interactions to explain how separation or isolation affects social behavior, and they can be compared to the data of adult degu vocalizations.

Category

Social Sciences

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

Social Communication after Isolation in Adolescent Degu

UC South Ballroom

Degus are small, highly social rodents. When degus are reunited after periods of isolation or separation, their vocal patterns can vary. Just like humans, degus can express more vocal communication when they come out of an isolation period. This is likely due to their social drive and the desire to repair the loneliness that they might have experienced. This research aims to understand the different types of vocalizations that are expressed after adolescent degus are reunited with one-another.

This repeated measures experiment consisted of three conditions that all the degus received before behavior was recorded during a 20 minute social “reunion”. The three conditions were isolation for 24 hours, isolation for 1 minute, and separation for 24 hours. “Separation” involved separating two degus from one-another, while keeping them with other cagemates so they were not deprived of social interaction.

We found that, consistent with full adult animals, adolescent degus vocalize more after 24 hours of isolation, compared with 24-hour separation or 1-minute isolation. The most common vocalization type across all conditions was chitters. Chitters are short, repetitive sounds in the frequency range of 1-4 kHz. Previous work suggests that chitters may be a type of vocalization that is important for social acknowledgement or connection. The results from this experiment are valuable because they can be related to the psychology of social interactions to explain how separation or isolation affects social behavior, and they can be compared to the data of adult degu vocalizations.