Context-dependent acquisition of copulatory behavior in the male rat: role of female availability

Behav Neurosci. 2008 Oct;122(5):991-7. doi: 10.1037/a0012831.


The effect of the environment in which sexual experience is acquired was examined on patterns of male rat copulatory behavior. Males trained in a pacing chamber with a 4-hole partition had significantly shorter ejaculation latencies compared with males trained in chambers with a 1-hole partition. Those differences persisted when males were switched into the other pacing condition, suggesting that the pattern of copulation in these males had become "fixed." In the second experiment, males were trained to associate an almond odor with copulation in either the 1-hole or 4-hole condition. Males ejaculated preferentially with females associated with the 4-hole pacing condition. Copulatory behavior in male rats is sensitive to female availability, and females associated with greater availability are preferred.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Conditioning, Psychological*
  • Copulation / physiology*
  • Ejaculation / physiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Odorants
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Smell*