Protein Malnutrition and Complex Learning in the Chicken
Protein malnutrition during periods of rapid growth has long been hypothesized to have deleterious effects on mental capacity (cf. Birch and Gussow, 1970; Scrimshaw and Gordon, 1968). Such a hypothesis is difficult to evaluate since performance is the product of many factors other than intellectual capacity, such as motivation, individual experiential history, vigor, etc. In an attempt to develop an animal model of protein malnutrition that controlled for these various extraneous variables the authors conducted a long series of experiments with chickens and rats, the results of which were negative. That is, it proved impossible under strictly controlled conditions to demonstrate any effect of protein malnutrition which could be attributed to a deficit in capacity. Negative results are usually not very interesting. However, these results are presented for their possible heuristic value to future investigators in this area.
KeywordsVariable Interval Multiple Schedule Performance Deficit Dietary Level Protein Malnutrition
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