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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The International Journal of Comparative Psychology is sponsored by the International Society for Comparative Psychology. It is a peer-reviewed open-access digital journal that publishes studies on the evolution and development of behavior in all animal species. It accepts research articles and reviews, letters and audiovisual submissions.

Volume 7, Issue 2, 1994

Research Article

Individual Discrimination by Olfactory Cues in Mice ( Mus musculus ): A multiple Choice Confirmation

The ability to discriminate four individual conspecifics by olfactory cues in laboratory mice was investigated. Adult male mice of the CD-I outbred strain were water deprived and placed in a Plexiglas four-arm maze, twice a day, five days a week. Subjects were assigned to two groups: Training and Control. Training mice were trained by water reinforcement (a drop of water) to choose the maze's arm containing the sawdust of one of four donors (adult males, same strain), while for Control mice the association between sawdust and reinforcement was continuously varied. Data collected during three weeks showed that Training mice made significantly fewer errors in finding the water than Control mice, thus confirming the results of previous experiments based on a two-way choice that proved mice to be able to discriminate conspecifics individually by olfactory cues.

The Matching Law in Hamsters

Most studies of the matching law have used pigeons or rats. Hamsters usually do not consume food immediately but store it in their cheek pouches. In the present experiment, three hamsters were trained on Concurrent Variable Interval-Variable Interval (Cone VI-VI) schedules with food reinforcement in an operant chamber with two levers. The value of the VI schedule was changed from 10 s to 90 s. A linear regression of log reinforcement ratio to log response ratio described the choice behavior of the hamsters well. These results suggest the applicability of the generalized matching law to operant behavior that is not immediately followed by consummatory behavior.

Individual Differences in the Behavior of Albino and Wild House Mice ( Mus musculus )

Adult male and female albino (AA) and wild (WW) housemice were individually evaluated in the laboratory for their performance in exploration (EX),insect predation (PD), burrowing (BW) and food hoarding (HD) activities. The results showed that (a) in both AA and WW adult mice there are individual differences (IDs), tending to be stable at least for periods of 60 days; (b) WW tended to show higher frequencies of the activities (WW males in EX and WW females in EX, PD, and HD); (c) significant sex differences occurred both in AA (with females scoring higher in EX and BW, and males in HD) and in WW (with higher female frequencies of burrowing); (d) individual animals had distinct combinations of performance in the four behavioral activities, suggesting independence among the motivational systems responsible for the regulation of these activities.

Book Review: Introduction- The Inevitable Bond: Examining Scientist-Animal Interactions

The Inevitable Bond: Examining Scientist-Animal Interactions, by Hank Davis and Dianne Balfour. New York: Cambridge Press, 1992, 399 pp. edited University

Should Scientists Bond with the Animals Whom They Use? Why Not?

The Inevitable Bond (Davis & Balfour, 1992; Davis, 1993) is a useful and well-edited collection of original essays. Davis and Balfour's introductory remarks and the brief summaries they provide before each chapter are helpful for keeping the central theme — scientist-cuiimal interactions — in focus. They and their contributors have produced a volume that is long overdue, one that forces scientists to come to terms with how they interact with the nonhuman animals (hereafter animals) they study, and why they interact in the ways they do. For some scientists this is a topic about which they would rather think than talk, but the many issues that need to be considered in studies of scientist-animal bonds will not disappear if they are ignored. And now they can no longer be ignored; The Inevitable Bond brings the issues to the table for much needed open discourse.

Effects of Experimenters on Their Animal Subjects Can be the Source of Valuable Knowledge

The focus of this volume (Davis & Balfour, 1992) is on the bond that forms between experimental subject and experimenter. The term bond is used quite loosely to mean (a) the reaction of experimenter to subject, (b) the reaction of subject to experimenter, and (c), more specifically, an emotional attachment either way. The editors make it clear at the outset that they are not interested in identifying experimenter contamination effects.

Who Watches the Watchmen?

The Inevitable Bond is a thoughtful look at how students of animal behaviour relate to their subjects. Cohesive and rich, it is a fine example of what a multi-authored book should be. Davis and Balfour provide introductory notes to each chapter, and have obviously taken great care in placing similarly themed chapters together. One paper's ideas are picked up and reiterated in others, becoming powerful motifs.

RESPONSE -- A Positive Response to "The Inevitable Bond" was not Inevitable

The consistently positive tone of the reviews of The Inevitable Bond suggests that the timing of our book could not have been better. Obviously, The Inevitable Bond addresses issues that many of our reviewers feel were hitherto neglected. However, the fact that there are relatively few substantive disagreements with the book's content could suggest that we are simply preaching to the converted. If this is indeed the case, it would seem that the conversion occurred at a rather well attended and secret ceremony.