It is commonly assumed that the role of exploratory behaviors is essentially adaptive. One of the costs of exploration is the risk of exposure to factors reducing the chances of survival, therefore we might expect that the level of exploratory behavior is regulated according to the level of potential risk. In order to verify those assumptions, we conducted a study of rats' exploratory behavior in three environments: without a scent of another rat, with a scent of another rat, and with a scent of a resident rat. It was expected that the highest level of exploratory behavior would be demonstrated by the rats tested in the environment with a scent of another rat, and the lowest - by those tested in the environment marked by a resident. The results did not confirm those expectations. The lowest level of exploration was demonstrated by the animals tested in the environment devoid of another rat's scent. No significant statistical differences were observed between the remaining two groups. The results might suggest that the significance of another rat's scent should be considered in terms of information rather than emotional content.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.