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Two groups of rats were raised in two different environments for 75 days beginning at 25 days of age. One group was raised in an enriched condition (EC), and one group in an impoverished condition (IC). At 91 days of age, all rats were tested on a spatial reversal learning task to determine if their early environments had affected their learning ability (Test 1). After Test 1 was completed, the rats were then placed in the opposite environment for another 75 days, with a second testing (Test 2) beginning at 165 days of age to determine if the new environment affected their ability to relearn the spatial reversal task. There were no significant differences between the two groups at Test 1 and both groups performed better at Test 2 than at Test 1 . However, the rats raised in EC performed better at Test 2 than the rats raised in IC, indicating that the rats which received EC early in life were not negatively affected by receiving IC later in life. The research hypothesis was not supported regarding the potential reversibility of differential rearing. Rats raised in IC and later shifted to EC did not perform as well at Test 2 as rats initially raised in EC and later shifted to IC. Discussion centers on possible reasons for these results.


Honors Thesis

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Psychology Commons