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Behavior of choice in Sprague-dawley (Rattus norvegicus) rats under food restriction

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Sara Tamiris Cirilo Fernandes
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: Ribeirão Preto.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (PCARP/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Andreia Schmidt; Sebastião de Sousa Almeida; Marcelo Salvador Caetano
Advisor: Andreia Schmidt

The behavior of choice is understood as the selection of between two or more alternatives available, different from the preference, which is related to the time spent by responding to one of these alternatives. In researches with non-human animals, it is observed that the subjects choose more frequently the alternatives on which the reinforcement will be available immediately, in small quantity, in comparison with the alternative in which the reinforcement is available only after the animal expects a certain time (delay), but in greater quantity. Although literature present data on the influence of food restriction and the sex of the animal in tasks of learning, it is important to deepen the investigation of these aspects in tasks of choice. The objective of this research was to compare the performance of rats Sprague Dawley (male and female) with a history of food restriction and control rats (with food ad libitum), in a task of choice, in that the alternatives varied in relation to the waiting time for access to food and the quantity of food available. 24 albino rats (12 males), from Sprague-Dawley lineage was used, divided in two groups. The Control Group (C) received diet ad lib., while the group restriction (R) had their diet restricted to 80% of the diet of the control group. At 70 days of age, there was a subdivision of the groups: half of the animals from group C formed the Group Controle-Restrito (CR - 80% of the diet), and the other half the Controle-Controle (CC - 100% of the diet). In Group R, half of the animals formed the Group Restrito-Controle (RC - 100% of the diet) and the other half, the Restrito-Restrito group (RR - 80% of the diet). In Step 1 the animals explored the labyrinth in U in a session of 10 attempts. In Step 2, there were 10 sessions of 16 attempts of forced choice, being 8 in the right arm, where there were six pellets of ration available after delay of 15 s, and eight in the left arm with three pellets of rations without delay. In Step 3, 45 sessions were conducted with 30 attempts (10 forced and 20 free), tarry check the default choice of animals of different groups in relation to the availability of strengthening in each alternative, the delay in one of the alternatives and the initial time wait time (T). Animals of all groups have preference for the SS alternative, independently of sex or diet. Differences were verified in the pattern and average latencies of choices in comparing the percentage of choices of the groups in relation to the diets. The RR group presented significantly lower average latency in comparison to group CC and a faster preference was established for alternative SS than group CC. Even having no significant differences been found between males and females in the scope studied (possibly due to then sampling), it was verified that females present lower latencies that males in all groups, besides the higher percentages for choosing alternative SS in males. Hypotheses are discussed on the influence of the diet and the quantity of food available in each alternative over the group choices. These hypotheses are also related to evolutionary aspects, referent to functions performed by males and females in nature. (AU)