Behavior Research Methods & Instrumentation

, Volume 1, Issue 6, pp 229–230 | Cite as

Babies by bar-press: Maternal behavior in the rat

  • W. E. Wilsoncroft
Instrumentation & Techniques


Pregnant rats were trained to press a bar for food rewards: Postpartum these Ss were tested when each bar-press delivered a rat pup (S’s own or foster) into the food cup. Ss repetitively bar-pressed, snatched up the pup as it tumbled down the chute and retrieved the pup into the adjacent nest box. Ss lived with 6 nursing pups but bar-pressed for hundreds: E removed all but 6 pups from the nest box after S had accumulated about 20. Maximal performance was 684 responses in a 3-h period. This technique is currently being used to study weaning and hormonal factors involved in the rat’s maternal motivation.


Food Reward Maternal Behavior Maternal Motivation Alien Animal Obtain Food Reward 
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. E. Wilsoncroft
    • 1
  1. 1.San Fernando Valley State CollegeNorthridge

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