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Behav Neurosci. 1997 Aug;111(4):808-15.

A kinematic analysis of sex-typical movement patterns used during evasive dodging to protect a food item: the role of testicular hormones.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.


Feeding rats dodge laterally away from a conspecific attempting to steal their food. Dodges by female and male rats differ in their composition of movement. Females pivot around a point more posterior on the longitudinal axis than do males, producing a greater amount of movement of the snout in relation to the pelvis. This experiment examined the role of testicular hormones on these sex-typical movement patterns. Castration at weaning (21 days) does not affect the male-typical pattern. Neonatal testicular hormone manipulation, however, does alter sex-typical patterns of movements. Whereas castration neonatally makes male rats more female-like, injections of neonatal female rats with testosterone propionate make them more male-like. These findings suggest that the organization of sex-typical patterns of dodging involves perinatal action of gonadal hormones. Results are discussed in relation to anatomy, neural structure, and the role of gonadal hormones during development.

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