Maternal pheromone in the rat

Clegg, Frances Margaret

Psychology
May 1979

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 1979 Frances Margaret Clegg. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

An integrated series of experiments was conducted to investigate an initial failure to replicate the maternal pheromone effect in the rat. It examined:
1. Apparatus parameters (airflow rate)
2. Pup factors (age, pre-test maternal deprivation, early experience)
3. Maternal factors (diet, strains; PVG/C, Wistar, Sprague-Dawley)

Publications on the maternal pheromone present a miriad of problems; methodological, conceptual and statistical, and a visit to two of the North American laboratories, where work on the pheromone is being pursued, failed to resolve these difficulties. The phenomenon is not as robust as the literature would suggest.

Final experiments, using a simplified method, showed that pre-weanling rats are influenced by olfactory cues; throughout the whole study the young had shown a slight preference for maternally derived odours.

Use of the term "pheromone", in connection with mammalian behaviour, is criticised. In particular it is concluded, that there is insufficient evidence to support the existence of a maternal pheromone in the rat.

Publisher
Department of Psychology, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Williams, D. I. (David Islwyn)
Sponsor (Organisation)
University of Hull; British Federation of University Women
Ethos identifier
uk.bl.ethos.482857
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
Filesize: 15 MB
Identifier
hull:6666
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