Two experiments examined age-related differences in short-term retention of active avoidance in rats through manipulation of context. While adult and preweanling rats showed equally good immediate retention of the avoidance task when an odor contextual cue was held constant between training and testing, the performance of preweanlings was significantly disrupted compared to that of adults when the testing-context odor differed from that of training. The same results were obtained whether the animals had no prior experience with the odors (Experiment I) or had previously been exposed to the contextual cues (Experiment II). Results are considered in terms of their implications for the ontogeny of memory storage and retention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas