Studies of Sociosexual Interactions in Rats in an Externally Valid Procedure: Are They Relevant for Understanding Human Sexual Behavior?
Xi Chu
University of Tromsø, Norway
Anders Ågmo
University of Tromsø, Norway
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representative design
seminatural environment
sexual behavior
social behavior

How to Cite

Chu, X., & Ågmo, A. (2016). Studies of Sociosexual Interactions in Rats in an Externally Valid Procedure: Are They Relevant for Understanding Human Sexual Behavior?. International Journal of Psychological Research, 9(2), 76-95.


When a prolonged observation of groups of rats in a seminatural environment is used as testing procedure, different behavioral patterns are shown compared with what observed in a pair housed in a small cage. Males and females copulate simultaneously, they show a promiscuously and random copulatory pattern. Females remain completely receptive from the first lordosis displayed in the period of behavioral estrus until the last. There is no reduction in paracopulatory behaviors and no increase in rejections towards the end of estrus. Female paracopulatory behavior and receptivity change in a most abrupt way at both initiation and termination of behavioral estrus. It appears that, in the seminatural environment, males copulate in bouts, and males do not pursue the females unless they are fully receptive. Non-sexual, social behavior including affiliative and nonaffiliative interaction among rats is rather unrelated to sexual activities in both sex.


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