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The effects of infantile handling and sensory deprivation on adult avoidance learning in the rat Marvin, Jeffrey

Abstract

Two groups of rats, handled on days (1-11) and days (21-32), and a nonhandled group were tested at 75 days of age on a modified two-way shuttle avoidance task. One-half of the animals were light-reared, the other half dark-reared. Measures taken included percentage correct avoidance responses (AR), intertrial interval responses (ITIR), escape response and avoidance response latencies (ERL and ARL), and A-Scores in percentage form (AR - ITIR). No differences in any of these measures except ERL was observed as a result of handling, though rearing in differential environments provided significant differences in AR, A-Scores, and ERL. Results were interpreted in terms of several relevant theories, with Melzack's (1968) hypothesis proving the most parsimonious in accounting for the data.

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