The effects of odors from stressed mice on conspecific behavior

Carlos Zalaquett, Del Thiessen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Four experiments correlate conspecific reactions to odors from stressed (foot shocked) BALB/cJ mice with the frequency of specific motor activities and taste avoidance. Where behavior was restricted to forward and backward movement in a tube, animals tended to avoid the side where the odors from stressed animals entered. In a more socially complex home cage (3 recipients) a wide variety of behaviors were affected by odors from stressed conspecifics. Animals were alerted by the odor, searched out the source of the odor and showed increases in general activity, rearing, and air sampling. Many of these behaviors habituated with continuous exposure. The major response to odors from stressed animals was to increase "vigilance." A restriction of behavioral opportunities will lead to odor avoidance; however, when the environment permits, the behavioral reaction to odors becomes more complex. These odors failed to produce conditioned taste aversion, suggesting a sensory specificity in the use of these odors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-227
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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