, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 299–307 | Cite as

Environmentally induced differences in susceptibility of rats to CNS stimulants and CNS depressants: Evidence against a unitary explanation

  • Dorothy F. Einon
  • Barbara J. Sahakian
Original Investigations


It has been suggested that socially isolated rats are more aroused then rats raised in social groups. This hypothesis was tested by examining amphetamine-induced activity and stereotypy in social and isolated rats of both sexes in both the active and inactive phases of their diurnal activity cycle. In socially raised rats it was possible to produce behavioural profiles similar to those of isolated rats by increasing the arousal level of the social rat. However, the complex interaction of housing conditions, diurnal variation and gender with drug dose suggests that one intervening variable such as arousal is too simplistic an explanation. In subsequent experiments, stereotypy was enhanced by a familiar environment, and there was a clear dissociation between the effects of CNS stimulants and CNS depressants. The increased susceptibility of isolates to CNS stimulants depends on social isolation for a short period before 45 days of age; the decreased susceptibility of isolates to CNS depressants may be produced by isolation at any age. We conclude that there is no evidence that isolated rats are hyperaroused.

Key words

Social isolation Arousal Stereotypy Amphetamine Barbiturates Ruts 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy F. Einon
    • 1
  • Barbara J. Sahakian
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychological LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeEngland

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