Serotonin, motivation, and playfulness in the juvenile rat

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The effects of the selective 5HT1A agonist 8-OH-DPAT were assessed on the play behavior of juvenile rats. When both rats of the test pair were comparably motivated to play, the only significant effect of 8-OH-DPAT was for play to be reduced at higher doses. When there was a baseline asymmetry in playful solicitation due to a differential motivation to play and only one rat of the pair was treated, low doses of 8-OH-DPAT resulted in a collapse of asymmetry in playful solicitations. It did not matter whether the rat that was treated initially accounted for more nape contacts or fewer nape contacts, the net effect of 8-OH-DPAT in this model was for low doses of 8-OH-DPAT to decrease a pre-established asymmetry in play solicitation. It is concluded that selective stimulation of 5HT1A receptors changes the dynamic of a playful interaction between two participants that are differentially motivated to play. These results are discussed within a broader framework of serotonergic involvement in mammalian playfulness. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.




Siviy, S. M., Deron, L. M., & Kasten, C. R. (2011). Serotonin, motivation, and playfulness in the juvenile rat. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 1(4), 606–616.

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