Fixed-consecutive-number performance in male and female Wistar rats

Behav Brain Res. 1990 Mar 26;37(3):255-61. doi: 10.1016/0166-4328(90)90137-4.


The present experiment was designed to investigate whether or not response rate differences between male and female Wistar rats observed in many different experimental procedures could be attributed to sex differences in behavioral perseverance, as has been suggested by the results of previous experiments. Male and female Wistar rats were thus exposed to different fixed-consecutive-number schedules of reinforcement. Fixed-consecutive-number schedules require subjects to emit a specified number of responses on one (work) lever, before a response on another (food) lever results in the presentation of reinforcement. The response requirement on the work lever was manipulated in different experimental conditions. Subjects had to emit between 3 and 7, 8 and 12 or 13 and 17 responses on the work lever before a response on the food lever produced reinforcement. When subjects emitted fewer or more than the required number of responses on the work lever, a 5-s time-out period was presented. Males responded at higher rates than females during all experimental conditions; response rates of males and females increased as the response requirement on the work lever was increased. Sex differences in response efficiency were not observed, but males seemed to reach final response efficiency faster than females. Response efficiency decreased as the response requirement on the work lever was increased. Error analysis showed that both males and females made more errors by not producing enough responses on the work lever than by producing too many. However, males were more likely than females to emit more responses than the requirement on the work lever, while females were more likely than males not to produce enough responses on the work lever.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetitive Behavior*
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Extinction, Psychological
  • Female
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Reinforcement Schedule*
  • Reversal Learning
  • Sex Factors