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Interactions Between the Eating System and the Drinking System in Rats, Rattus Norvegicus Albinus

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Two experiments are described about the alternation of eating and drinking behaviour in rats. In experiment 1 there were three conditions where the eating system dominated the drinking system, and two conditions where the drinking system dominated the eating system. Experiment 2 replicated the condition with the eating system dominating the drinking system. The aim of the study was to investigate the existence of a time-sharing mechanism which regulates the alternation of eating behaviour and of drinking behaviour. Time-sharing means, according to McFarland, that the dominating behavioural system alternately inhibits and disinhibits the subdominant behavioural system. We partly confirmed the hypothesis that a time-sharing mechanism is operating, but the mechanism operates only during the first, small, part of the thirty minutes observation period. Despite the strong alternation of eating and drinking the total duration of eating or of drinking was similar in any condition, but the frequency of bouts varied. Exploratory behaviour occurred frequently in the pauses between eating and drinking bouts.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Ethology, Psychological Laboratory, University of Amsterdam


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