Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor's Name

Robert Lickliter

First Advisor's Committee Title

Major Professor

Second Advisor's Name

Anthony Dick

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Bennett Schwartz

Keywords

Stress, development, oxytocin, mesotocin, social cognition

Date of Defense

2-11-2014

Abstract

Oxytocin (OT) plays a key role in the mediation of social and stress behaviors across many species; however, the mechanism is still unclear. The present study investigated the influence of prenatal levels of mesotocin (MT; avian homologue of OT) on postnatal social and stress behavior in Northern bobwhite quail. Experiment one determined endogenous levels of MT during prenatal development using an enzyme-linked immunoassay kit. Experiment two examined the influence of increased MT during prenatal development on chicks' individual recognition ability and stress response to a novel environment. Experiment one showed MT levels increased significantly throughout embryonic development. Experiment two showed significant differences in stress behavior for chicks with increased MT during prenatal development; however, no significant differences were found for social behavior. This study suggests MT serves different functions depending on the stage of embryonic development and that increasing MT levels affects postnatal stress behavior, but not social behavior.

Identifier

FI14040893

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