Social contacts and production of 50-kHz short ultrasonic calls in adult rats

J Comp Psychol. 2002 Mar;116(1):73-82. doi: 10.1037/0735-7036.116.1.73.


The goal of the study was to provide evidence that the production of 50-kHz calls by adult rats is driven by potential or direct social contacts. The calls have been studied during daily visits to a cage by single or paired rats. Repeated exposure of rats to the cage frequently visited by other rats or direct contact between rats significantly increased the number of 50-kHz calls. The increase in production of 50-kHz calls was reduced by 78% after intrapreoptic-anterior hypothalamic injection of MK-801, an N-methyl-D-aspartate-type glutamate receptor antagonist. Calls emitted in all situations had a similar acoustic profile. It was found that 50-kHz calls were produced in anticipation of, and/or during, direct social contacts among adult rats and were predominantly initiated by olfactory stimuli. The calls seem to express an appetitive behavioral state in which the central glutamatergic mechanism is implicated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar / psychology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Vocalization, Animal*