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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2005 Feb;29(1):99-112. Epub 2004 Dec 20.

Inter-individual vs line/strain differences in psychogenetically selected Roman High-(RHA) and Low-(RLA) Avoidance rats: neuroendocrine and behavioural aspects.

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Unité de Psychopharmacologie clinique, APSIC, Hopitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG), 2, ch. du Petit-Bel-Air, CH-1225 Chêne-Bourg/GE, Switzerland.


Inter-individual differences in neuroendocrine and behavioural responses to environmental challenges will be considered within the context of psychogenetic selection, using the Roman High-(RHA) and Low-(RLA) Avoidance rat lines as an example. We assume that the selected genotypes, by interacting with environmental factors, determine specific 'biobehavioural profiles'. Practical and theoretical problems regarding the measurement of inter-individual vs line/strain differences, the definition of 'traits' vs experimental variables, and possible correlations between physiological and behavioural parameters will be discussed. We will argue that environmental influences are the main cause of inter-individual variability, and that the genotype only constitutes a 'blueprint' from which typical biobehavioural profiles are established, notably under the influence of early environmental factors. These biobehavioural profiles may correspond in part to human categories known as 'types', 'temperaments' or 'personality traits'. Within each category (including those which can be obtained by psychogenetic selection), more individual personality traits can evolve, notably as a result of social interactions and particular life events.

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