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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Early Learning Capability in Rodents: A Review ( Rattus Norvegicus and Mus Musculus )

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Available data on learning capabilities in immature rodents are briefly summarized and some new findings on early learning in mice are presented. We omit the comparatively small number of works concerning precocial species of rodents, that is, guinea pigs and spiny mice. In a comparison we have already made (D'Udine and Alleva, 1983) we found that rodent species characterized as precocial types appeared to be affected in a dramatic way by environmental factors during postnatal development, as shown by profound modification of their adult behavioral patterns. Since the aim of our contribution is to review the methodological paradigms used to assess early learning capabilities in rodents, we shall focus here on the Norway rat and the house mouse, because they are the only species for which evidence has progressively been built up through the use of different tests.

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