Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

David Mallory

Second Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


Female Sprauge Dawley rats were used to determine if non-sexual social interaction could be used as a positive reinforcing stimulus in a place preference conditioning (PPC) paradigm. PPC is a commonly used paradigm to test the addictive properties of abused drugs, but has also been used to determine the positive effect of sexual activity and play in juvenile rats. Individually housed female rats were paired with group housed female rats or left isolated in a chamber for 15 minutes for positive or negative conditioning, respectively. Three different groups of rats were tested: intact, bilateral ovariectomized (OVX), and bilateral ovariectomized with estrogen benzoate replacement (OVX + EB; 0.2 ml/day) to determine the effects of social conditioning due to estrogen. All three groups were conditioned by social interaction and there was a tendency for the OVX group to have a stronger conditioning than the intact or OVX + EB group. Our data indicate that the social interaction can be used to condition female rats as shown in the PPC test and that ovarian hormones may play a role in that conditioning.


Estrogen – Research.

Rats – Training – Research.

Reward (Psychology).