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Common arm preferences in the radial arm maze as an alternate explanation for paired rats' attraction tendencies

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Description: This study follows up on recent work investigating social spatial memory in rats. In that previous work, researchers observed that rats had an attraction to choices made by another rat earlier in the choice sequence, but also observed that some paired rats had common arm preferences in the radial arm maze. The present experiment explores whether social memory is the most plausible explanation for this apparent attraction tendency or if it is an artifact of common arm preferences. Rats were tested in the radial arm maze individually and in pairs. The arms of the radial maze arms were baited with unlimited sucrose pellets to replicate the experimental design in which the attraction tendency was observed. The difference in magnitude of common arm preferences in single and paired trials was determined. Common arm preferences existed in paired trials but not the single trials. This supports the original hypothesis that rats are attracted to locations previously visited by a foraging partner by social spatial memories for their partner's visits.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work