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Crucial role of the post natal maternal environment in the expression of pre natal stress effects in the male rat

Crucial role of the post natal maternal environment in the expression of pre natal stress effects in the male rat

Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology 91(6): 1432-1446

Methodological and conceptual problems common in prenatal stress experiments were analyzed. Rats were prenatally stressed or served as controls and then were cross-fostered within or between treatment groups. In adulthood, one male from each litter was tested over 20 trials in an open-field box and then tested over 20 successive discrimination reversals in a T-maze. A T-factor analysis was performed on each of the 2 sets of observations, and factor scores were subjected to elevational analyses. Male rats subjected to prenatal stress acquired emotional reactivity levels in adulthood that are either elevated or reduced depending on the postnatal maternal environment and acquired reversal learning sets in adulthood with a rapidity that parallels and is produced by the pattern of emotional reactivity reflected in the above a and as mediated by cognitive processes. T-factor analysis of trials is required in order to avoid construct validity problems as well as internal validity problems, both brought about by the confounding of trial variables, and may generate valuable hypotheses giving further meaning to the dependent variables under observation.

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Accession: 005070709

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PMID: 563871

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