Spontaneous and learned turning behaviour in food- or water-restricted hooded rats

Toates, F. and Donohue, T. (1990). Spontaneous and learned turning behaviour in food- or water-restricted hooded rats. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 42B(2) pp. 153–173.

URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2367688


Some laboratory studies have suggested that whereas food restriction in animals leads to response alternation (behavioural flexibility), water restriction induces perseverative, stereotyped responding. Hooded rats, restricted to 1 hour per day access to either food or water, were tested on a radial-arm maze (using a procedure that eliminates algorithmic response strategies), for alternation in a 3-arm maze (both when the maze was familiar and unfamiliar, and with or without differential reward) and a 2-choice maze in which some animals were taught to alternate direction of turn, and others to perseverate. Both groups performed the radial-arm maze task competently and spontaneously alternated at a high rate. In the learned task, food-restricted rats were slower than water-restricted to reverse a consistent direction of turn; in the alternation condition, water-restricted rats developed a temporary, but strong, directional bias when making their first choice each day. Water-restricted subjects took water more readily than food-restricted took food when initially introduced to the apparatuses, but there was no consistent difference in motivation in the two conditions. The results provide little support for the notion that distinct cognitive-motivational states or behavioural strategies are induced by food- and water-restriction.

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