Role reversal changes during the ontogeny of play fighting in male rats: Attack vs. defense

From weaning until sexual maturity, the rates at which young male rats hold each other supine during play fighting appear to become progressively asymmetrical. These changes have been previously thought to reflect an initial lack of dominance and a later development of dominance?subordinance relationships. In this paper it is shown that pairs of male rats exhibit asymmetries in playful attack and playful defense throughout development. The changes, resulting in greater asymmetry of pinning rates, are shown to result from age?dependent changes in defensive tactics; the relationship, therefore, remains constant while the form of the behavior changes. Furthermore, it is not the animals showing the highest rates of playful attack who become dominant in older ages. Copyright © 1991 Wiley?Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company

From weaning until sexual maturity, the rates at which young male rats hold each other supine during play fighting appear to become progressively asymmetrical. These changes have been previously thought to reflect an initial lack of dominance and a later development of dominance?subordinance relationships. In this paper it is shown that pairs of male rats exhibit asymmetries in playful attack and playful defense throughout development. The changes, resulting in greater asymmetry of pinning rates, are shown to result from age?dependent changes in defensive tactics; the relationship, therefore, remains constant while the form of the behavior changes. Furthermore, it is not the animals showing the highest rates of playful attack who become dominant in older ages. Copyright © 1991 Wiley?Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company

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