Psychology ETDs

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The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of various social pairing conditions on the performance of individual rats, and the extent to which single subject principles would account for the results. Thirty-two male hooded rats were used as subjects. Twelve rats were deprived of water and individually trained to press the left lever of a two lever operant box and twelve rats were deprived of food and trained to press the right lever of the same box for pellets. During the individual training sessions one of the remaining eight naive, satiated rats was placed in the chamber along with the working rat. Half of each group of deprived rats was then assigned to either a fixed pair test method or a mixed pair test method group. The fixed pair test method rats were assigned a pairmate for each condition and run only with that pairmate. The mixed pair test method rats were assigned randomly to all other rats within their respective group. Each of the testing method groups was then placed into the chamber under two different pairing conditions. The first pairing condition was between deprivation groups. Water deprived rats were run with food deprived rats and vice versa. The second pairing condition was within deprivation group. Water deprived rats were run with other water deprived rats and food deprived rats were run with other food deprived rats. In the last phase of the study the mixed pair test method group rats were paired in an escape situation where only one rat could escape. The results were similar for both food and water deprived rats and for the mixed test method and fixed test method groups. The between deprivation group pairing condition resulted in a facilitation in individual performance relative to training. The within deprivation group pairing condition resulted in a decrement in individual performance accompanied by severe, sustained aggression. The results of the mixed test method group during the within deprivation pairing condition showed the formation of a linear dominance relationship. Pairing during the escape situation showed a similar dominance relationship in the same group of rats. The facilitation observed is interpreted to suggest modification of Zajonc's theory of social arousal. The similarity of the dominance hierarchies in the appetitively motivated situation and the aversively motivated situation indicated that dominance relationships are similar in different situations with different motivation. Possible applications of single subject principles were discussed.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Frank Anderson Logan

Second Committee Member

G. Robert Grice

Third Committee Member

Douglas Peter Ferraro

Fourth Committee Member

John Paul Gluck Jr.



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Psychology Commons