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Publication Date


First Advisor

Annaliese K. Beery

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science


Biological Sciences


Oxytocin, Amygdaloid body, Microtus pennsylvanicus-Behavior-Endocrine aspects, Neuroendocrinology, Affiliation (Psychology) in animals., Social behavior in animals, Central nucleus of the amygdala, Meadow voles, Affiliative, Peer bond, Social behavior


Previous studies demonstrate diverse effects of the neuropeptide oxytocin on social with much focus on reproductive relationship such as maternal behavior and monogamy. Meadow voles are promiscuous breeders that nonetheless form strong preferences for same-sex peers during winter or winter like day-lengths. This study focused on the specific effect on female meadow vole affiliative social behavior when oxytocin is administered into the central nucleus of the amygdala. An association was previously determined between oxytocin receptor density in the central nucleus of the amygdala and meadow vole huddling behavior. Exogenous oxytocin attenuated same-sex partner preference following a 24-hour cohabitation. Oxytocin with an oxytocin receptor antagonist recovered the partner preference; that is, time spent huddling with a familiar partner exceeded time spent with a novel conspecific. Vasopressin receptor antagonist also had a slight effect on restoring huddling behavior. This study also examined the effect of oxytocin administration in the central nucleus of the amygdala during an open field test. There was no significant difference in behavior during the open field test immediately following infusion or twenty-four hours later. These results indicate female meadow voles do not form partner preferences following central amygdala region specific oxytocin administration independent of a decrease in exploratory behavior.




[41] pages : illustrations (some color). Includes bibliographical references.