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February 1958

Effects of Early Deprivation and Delayed Weaning on Avoidance Learning in the Albino Rat

Author Affiliations

Columbus, Ohio

From the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training of the Micheal Reese Hospital.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;79(2):211-213. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340020091017

Recently the effects of early experience on adult behavior have been the subject of a great deal of experimental work. Several investigators have reported that animals that have received some form of stimulation, noxious, visual, or handling, in infancy appear to be less emotional,1,2 learn faster,3,4 and show greater resistance to physiological stress5 than nonhandled, control animals.

The present study was designed to study, with infrahuman subjects, some of Levy's6 concepts concerning maternal overprotection. Levy states that "maternal overprotection is synonomous with excessive maternal care of children." One of the criteria for maternal overprotection is "excessive contact, the inseparability of mother and child-manifested in continuous companionship of mother and child, prolonged and excessive nursing."

Few attempts have been made to study systematically the effects of mother-offspring relationships in animals. Seitz7 reported that offspring from large litters were, in general, more emotional than those from small