Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

James O. Prochaska


In this study, 79 young rats were exposed to different types of infantile stimulation in order to determine the effects of stimulation of different sensory modalities on emotionality and learning. Between the eleventh and twentieth days of life, the subjects received either a 25 volt A.C. shock, 75 decibels of white noise (aversive auditory stimulation), or 45 decibels of white noise (nonaversive auditory stimulation). One group was handled (handled control) and another group was l eft alone (nonhandled control). The hypothesis tested was that the different types of stimulation would lead to a reduction of emotionality and an increase in learning ability. The nonhandled control group suffer e d from an extremely high mortality rate and was excluded from most of the statistical analyses.

There were no differ enc es between the groups in learning ability. The results were mixed in regard to adult emotionality. There were no significant differences between the experimental groups; however, on some measures, there were significant differences between one or more of the experimental groups and the handled control. Where significant differences were found to exist, the shock group was always found to differ from the handled control group, with the shock group being less emotional than the handled control group in these instances. Although there were no significant differences between the shock and the other experimental groups on any of the dependent measures, the shock group always had the best performance.



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