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Competition Between Feeding and Investigation in the Rat

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image of Behaviour

1. Rats delay feeding (latency) and eat at a slower rate when some part of the environment is unfamiliar. These responses are more marked with an increase in the unfamiliar elements of the environment. 2. The addition of a new object to a familiar environment has a greater effect on one or other of these responses than the deletion of the same object. 3. Unfamiliarity with a situation previously occupied is complete within three to five days on return to it. 4. Latency decreased, and the rate of feeding increased, when the period of starvation was prolonged from 24 to 72 hours. 5. It is concluded that the effect of unfamiliar situations on the latency and the rate of feeding represents a competition between hunger and investigation, but that latency and rate of feeding are influenced by different sets of variables.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pharmacology, University of Birmingham


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