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Behav Brain Res. 2012 Jan 1;226(1):345-50. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2011.08.047. Epub 2011 Sep 6.

Functional specificity in the modulation of novelty exposure effects by reliability of maternal care.

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Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, United States.


Using the within-litter neonatal novelty exposure procedure, we manipulated newborn pups' environmental novelty independently from natural variations in maternal care. To better translate animal models to human development studies, we introduce a measure for maternal care reliability. We examined how this reliability modulates novelty-exposure-induced effects on offspring cognitive, social, and emotional development and show that maternal care reliability acts in a function-specific manner. We discuss our results within the framework of a maternal reliability-based modulation model.

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