TitleThe impact of social subordination on stress reactivity and cognitive abilities in CD-1 outbred mice
NameColas, Danielle (author), Matzel, Louis D. (chair), Shors, Tracey J. (internal member), Wagner, George (internal member), Shumyatsky, Gleb (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Mice--Effect of stress on,
Cognition in animals,
DescriptionImposed social subordination, such as that acquired through defeat or alienation, has been shown to negatively impact cognitive performance in both human and animal populations. In the present study we examined whether domain-specific and/or domain- general learning abilities (c.f. general intelligence) are differentially influenced by the imposition of social subordination. Further, we examined whether any observable differences in learning abilities were the direct result of subordination or if they represented deficits which are intrinsically expressed in individuals that are innately disposed to subordination. Subordinate and dominant behaviors were assessed in two groups of CD-1 male mice. In one group (IMP), social stratification occurred prior to the assessment of learning abilities, while in a second group (INN), this assessment occurred after learning abilities were measured. Domain-specific learning abilities were measured as performance on individual learning tasks while domain-general learning abilities were measured as the aggregate performance across a battery of learning tasks. We found that the imposition of subordination decreases exploratory tendencies and to some degree affects domain-specific learning performance. However, the most staggering results came in our analysis of general learning abilities whereby we observed that subjects who assumed a submissive role prior to the assessment of cognitive function were severely impaired. Similar decrements were not seen in subjects that were determined to be subordinate after learning had been assessed. The latter finding indicates that absent the imposition of subordination, individuals with subordinate tendencies do not demonstrate learning impairments. This observation could have important ramifications for those who suffer bullying in school or workplace settings.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Danielle C. Colas
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.