Genetic Differences in the Avoidance Conditioning of Mice

Publication Year



Genes, avoidance conditioning, mice, psychogenetics, heredity


Biology | Genetics and Genomics | Psychology


There has been a significant resurgence of interest in the age-old controversy of hereditary versus environment which is now recognized under a new title, psychogenetics. Psychogenetics recasts the problem in terms of genes and behavior rather than the more nebulous concepts known as hereditary and environment. Hall states that the objectives of psychogenetics are four in number: "(1) to discover whether a given behavior pattern is transmitted from generation to generation; (2) to determine the number and nature of the genetic factors involved in the trait; (3) to locate the gene or genes, and (4) to determine the manner in which the genes act to produce the trait." Hall further suggests that there is a need for scientific control over genetic variables primarily by way of more stringent inbreeding of experimental animals. Thompson concurs with Hall by stating: "...close inbreeding has not been carried on for a period long enough to produce genetically pure strains."

There is a great need for study of the behavioral characteristics of pure-bred animal strains followed by genetic analyses of the findings. This paper is the first step in a program of such psychogenetic studies. It is our purpose to determine whether there are genetic differences between highly inbred strains of mice in preparation for later studies which will attempt to isolate relevant genetic factors. More specifically, our study deals with the determination of whether there are significant differences in conditioning and extinction phenomena between several highly inbred strains of mice.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status


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