Date of Award

6-1959

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Ernest Furchgott

Committee Members

William O. Jenkins, Edward E. Cureton, Leo Simons, L. M. Deridder

Abstract

Summary: An experiment was conducted to ascertain the effects of nonstabilized food deprivation, stabilized food deprivation, runway complexity, and age on exploratory behavior of male albino rats both during and across five five-minute trials. Three levels of deprivation: zero, twenty-three, and forty-seven hours were used. The stabilization dimension included groups stabilized on the twenty-three hour schedule for zero and fourteen days prior to the beginning of the experiment. The two age groups were respectively about thirty-five and ninety days old at the beginning of the experiment. All groups were equally divided into simple and complex runway groups. The simple runway groups were exposed to a fifteen foot straight runway, the complex group to a runway different only in that there were right angle turns every twelve inches. The only measurement taken was the number of twelve inch runway units traversed during each minute of the trials. The data were analyzed for differences in trend for the total trial sums and for intratrial effects.

The major findings are as follows: 1) There were no significant differences for degree of deprivation, stabilization of deprivation or age when the group sums were taken exclusive of trials. 2) There was a suggestion of decreasing exploration with increasing deprivation for the complex runway groups. 3) The forty-seven hour deprived groups showed a marked increase in exploration after the third trial. 4) There was a significant difference favoring the simple runway stabilized deprived group when compared to its complex runway counterpart. 5) There was a suggestion of an age-complexity interaction; the young Ss starting low and showing increased exploration, the older Ss either remaining the same or showing decreased exploration. 6) The across-trials shape of the summed group curves was curvilinear with a minimum at about the third trial. 7) The intratrial curves for all groups showed that Ss in all groups showed the greatest decrease in exploration at the beginning of the trial with little subsequent change, and that there was an increase with the beginning of a new trial. 8) The percentage of subjects declining during the intratrial intervals was greater for the complex runway groups than for the simple runway groups.

An attempt was made to explain some of these findings. Others were simply allowed to stand by themselves. Future experiments with these variables were suggested, with particular emphasis on trial effects.

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