The development of postural control is considered an important factor for the expression of coordinated behavior such as locomotion. In the natural setting of the nest, newborn rat pups adapt their posture to perform behaviors of ecological relevance such as those related to suckling. The current study explores the role of posture in the expression of three behaviors in the newborn rat: spontaneous limb activity, locomotor-like stepping behavior, and the leg extension response (LER). One-day-old rat pups were tested in one of two postures - prone or supine - on each of these behavioral measures. Results showed that pups expressed more spontaneous activity while supine, more stepping while prone, and no differences in LER expression between the two postures. Together these findings show that posture affects the expression of newborn behavior patterns in different ways, and suggest that posture may act as a facilitator or a limiting factor in the expression of different behaviors during early development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience