Cooperative Social Coordination and Aggression: II. Effects of Sex and Housing among Three Strains of Intact Laboratory Rats Differing in Aggressiveness

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Pairs of laboratory rats were rewarded with sugar solution for cooperating by means of synchronized shuttling in a rectangular chamber. Learning and performance were compared in males and females of three strains—S3, Charles River, and Wistar—ordered in terms of decreasing levels of aggressx-iveness. In addition, same-sex pairs of each strain were housed either together or individually. When housed together, males and females of all strains eventually cooperated at comparable levels, with rates of acquisition across strains inversely related to their aggressiveness. Individual housing, in contrast, was associated with severe deficits in males of the S3 and CR strains linked to violent fighting and prolonged freezing by animals who had previously been defeated. All other individually housed groups, including males of the Wistar strain and females of all strains, were able to cooperate, including S3 females whose violent fighting was not associated with immo-bility by defeated animals. In general, the majority of groups were able to cooperate despite differences in aggressiveness associated with sex, strain, and housing. Possible processes in this accommodation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-390
Number of pages24
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section B: Comparative and Physiological Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 1993

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Requests for reprints should be sent to Richard Schuster, Department of Psychology, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel. The order of the names Schuster and Swanson is arbitrary. Research and writing were supported by a Twinning Grant from the European Science Foundation and by grants to R.S. from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation. This report was written and revised while R.S. was on leave at the Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. The authors are grateful to Prof. Michael T. McGuire. MD. for providing the facilities for the completion of this report and for many helpful discussions, and to J. Overdijk, NIBR, and A. Pepo. University of Haifa, for technical assistance. The authors also thank the associate editor, E.A. Gaffan, and reviewers for their detailed and thoughful comments on the first submission.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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