The effects of fetal ethanol exposure on adult discrimination reversal in rats
Ten offspring whose dams received a liquid diet containing ethanol (35% of total calories), 10 offspring whose dams were pair fed an isocaloric diet that had maltose-dextrin substituted for ethanol, and 7 offspring whose dams were given free access to lab chow and water throughout pregnancy were compared on visual-tactile discrimination, beginning at 110 days of age. The three groups were compared on discrimination acquisition, retention, reversal, and non-reversal shift. The groups differed only on the non-reversal shift task, which involved shifting from visual and tactile cues to spatial cues. The lab chow group required more trials to attain criterion than either the alcohol or maltose offspring (p < .05 in both cases). The data suggest that the nutritional restriction associated with the liquid diets resulted in offspring that are more predisposed to use spatial cues than are normal animals.
Means, LW; Adams, JM; Gray, SL
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