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J Comp Psychol. 1987 Mar;101(1):60-6.

Development of the auditory orientation response in the albino rat (Rattus norvegicus).


The development of head orientation to auditory stimulation was examined in rat pups at Postnatal Days 8, 11, 14, 17, and 20. The animals were tested in a quiet environment with single bursts of 65 dB (SPL) broad-band noise. A reflexive head turn toward the sound was first seen on Postnatal Day 14 and subsequently on Days 17 and 20. This result demonstrates that the onset of directional auditory responses occurred between Day 11 and Day 14. The role of binaural cues in early sound orientation was examined in 17-day-old pups with monaural ligation of the external meatus. These animals were unable to localize a sound source and consistently turned toward the side of the unligated ear regardless of the position of the stimulus. Thus binaural cues were shown to be important for head orientation to sound in early development. In a separate study, head orientation to high and low frequency tone pips was examined. Directional responses were first seen on Day 12 for a 16-kHz tone and Day 14 for a 2-kHz tone. These results indicate an earlier onset for orientation to high frequency sounds in the rat.

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