Interaction of ambient temperature and microwave power density on schedule-controlled behavior in the rat


  • Michael I. Gage,

  • W. Mark Guyer


Most guidelines of microwave exposure do not explicitly address effects of ambient temperature. Our experiment revealed that ambient temperature potentiates the behavioral effects of intensity of irradiation. Sixty-four adult male Long-Evans rats were trained to insert their heads into a food cup to obtain food pellets on a 1-min variable-interval schedule of reinforcement. Two groups of four rats each were then exposed to 2450-MHz CW microwaves for 15.5 hours under one of the following eight combinations of power density and air temperature: 8 or 14 mW/cm2 at 22°C; 0, 8, or 14 mW/cm2 at 26°C; and 0, 8, or 14 mW/cm2 at 30°C (relative humidity was 50% in all cases). Response rate of each rat following exposure was compared with its control rate at 0 mW/cm2 and 22°C. After exposure at 8 mW/cm2, response rates were reduced by a mean of 13.8% at 22°C, 27.5Percnt; at 26°C, and 77.5% at 30°C. After exposure at 14 mW/cm2, rates were reduced by a mean of 21.1% at 22°C, 43.7% at 26°C, and 80.0% at 30°C. In the absence of microwaves the higher temperatures caused only slight decreases in response rate.