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Social behavior in laboratory rats: Applications for psycho-neuroethology studies

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The social behavior in laboratory animals occurs in conspecific groups. In the past two decades, the physiological basis of the social behavior in laboratory rats has been gradually elucidated through various neural approaches. In addition, the relevance of social related behavior for psycho-neuroethology studies has been extensively proposed. An analysis of social recognition behavior of new conspecifics is a useful approach for the study of memory without aversive alternatives such as fear, pain and anxiety. Furthermore, it is considered that artificial or experimental social isolation can induce altered emotional states in laboratory rats. This article reviews the past findings regarding social behavior and aspects of its expression, and discusses further possibilities for animal models of human neuro-psychiatric disorders.
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Keywords: animal model; laboratory rat; social isolation; social recognition

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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