Influence of Social Status on Behavior and Stress in Mice

by Samantha Everett

Faculty mentor: Professor Parrish Waters

Mice are socially aggressive animals and tend to interact in ways that are representative of a social hierarchy. Their interactions and behaviors determine their position in the social hierarchy, i.e., dominant, subordinate, or somewhere in-between. The present study examined the effect of social rank on behavior and stress/anxiety. Mice were given access to a running wheel, an important resource because it provides the mice with stress relieving exercise, in both their home cage and their accessory cage. The mice’s daily activities, along with specific tests, were recorded to measure each mouse’s anxiety and identify them as dominant or subordinate. While the social rank of the mice was determined, none of the physiological or behavioral tests performed provided conclusive results demonstrating significant differences in anxiety or response to stress. This could be attributed to several factors, such as the spacious home cages, the accessibility of the isolated accessory cages, and the availability of two running wheels. Said factors possibly created a less stressful environment for the mice. The lack of significant results could also point to the behaviors and tests observed were not appropriate for detecting the effects of social stress in mice.

2 Replies to “Influence of Social Status on Behavior and Stress in Mice”

  1. I really enjoyed learning about your project, Samantha! Although your results were inconclusive, I was unaware there was a social hierarchy in mice, so I still found this project to be fascinating! The poster was very appealing and included helpful information about your project.

  2. It was very interesting to read about the different types of mice and how they interact in cages. Even though the tests did not provide conclusive results, I still loved reading about the different social hierarchy mice have.

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