A Dynamic Psychoneural Analysis of Offense Behavior in the Rat
III. The Dynamic Model Page 6

Title Page and Summary


I. Introduction and Background
Page 1


II. The Static Model
Pages 2 - 3


III. The Dynamic Model
Pages 4 - 5 - 6


IV. Future Work
Page 7


Figures 1-6
Pages 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13


Page 14

(Section continued from previous page)

If the opponent is stronger, as shown in Figure 5, the sequence may be somewhat different. The sequence is the same through panel 5-4 as in panel 4-4, but the opponent does not allow the attacking animal to make lateral contact with its body and instead it meets it head-on with the vibrissae (5-5) which leads to upright posture on the part of both animals; assuming there are paw movements associated with approach, the mutual behavior will be that of boxing. Despite the intensification of the offense motivation and motor patterns, the two animals remain locked into boxing position which precludes a bite-and-kick attack. So long as the opponent can maintain this state or successfully flee, there will be no biting attack and injury, despite the high level of offensive motivation on the part of the attacking animal.

A dynamic model of a weak attack is shown in Figure 6. This particular example is one of a socially-housed male laboratory rat against a male opponent. The opponent is relatively familiar, since it shares the same odors as the cagemates of the attacking animal; therefore the only motivating stimuli for offense are those of the perception of a male odor (6-2). Offense motivation (6-3) and, consequently, the motor patterns of approach (6-4) and offensive sideways posture (6-5) are not very strong. Despite positive feedback of sensory analyzers (6-3), and intensification of their activity (6-4), the level of offense motivation remains only moderate because there is only one input of motivational stimuli for offense. Although there may be behavioral actions which provide the releasing stimuli for the full aggressive posture (6-6 and 6-7) and the bite-and-kick attack (6-7), there is no consummation of the bite-and-kick attack because the level of offense motivation does not reach a critical threshold to activate this motor pattern. Instead the behavior of the animal remains at the level of the full aggressive posture (6-8) and the behavioral sequence does not progress beyond this point.

In addition to the specific examples cited in this paper, there are many other behavioral situations that can produce moderate or weak levels of offense motivation in an attacking animal. It depends upon the sex of the animal, its androgen and estrogen levels, the relative familiarity of the opponent, its state of hunger and the presence or absence of food, its previous history of victories and defeats, and the location of the test, i.e., whether it is in a familiar place or in an unfamiliar place that produces neophobia and inhibits offense. Space is lacking in the present publication for a more detailed analysis.

(End of Section)

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