Prenatal psychological stress and offspring behavior in rats and mice

Authors

  • John E. Archer,

    1. Department of Psychology, The University of Nottingham Nottingham, United Kingdom
    Current affiliation:
    1. Ethology and Neurophysiology Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, Sussex, U.K.
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  • Derek E. Blackman

    1. Department of Psychology, The University of Nottingham Nottingham, United Kingdom
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Psychology, The University, Nottingham, NG 7, 2 RD, U.K.
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Abstract

The experimental literature on the behavioral sequelae of prenatal stress in rodents is reviewed, from which few conclusions can be drawn except that some change in activity-reactivity may be induced. Were more careful consideration given to certain methodologic dimensions, greater clarity of empirical relations could be achieved. These dimensions are: (1) the sex, species, and strain of animal observed; (2) the specification of the prenatal manipulation; and (3) the precision and completeness of the behavioral description which is the dependent variable studied. Multiple descriptions, as in a test-battery approach, appear to be inefficient and generally unwarranted.

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