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Maternal behavior develops differently depending on characteristics of the individual, such as age or emotional reactivity. Social motivation, defined as the propensity to establish social contact, has been little studied in relation to maternal behavior in birds. In addition, the transition to motherhood is a time of plasticity in the brain of the new mother in mammals. However, it remains to be determined how maternal brain plasticity is affected in avian species. The present study investigated how a mother's social motivation alters maternal behavior and brain plasticity of the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). Adult females from lines selected for high and low social motivation were exposed to chicks for 11 days. After maternal care testing, and at matched time points in controls, the brains of females were perfused for assessing immunoreactivity staining of doublecortin, a marker of neurogenesis, in the subventricular zone (SVZ), a neurogenic niche. Our results showed that high socially motivated female quail spent significantly less time in maternal behaviour when exposed to chicks compared to low socially motivated females. Moreover, the high social motivated females warmed chicks with less covering postures and were more rejecting of chicks. Interestingly, the plasticity indicators in the SVZ did not differ between low and high social motivated females and were not associated with differences in maternal caregiving when using doublecortin-immunoreactive staining. Thus, high social motivation in this avian species does not favour maternal behavior and this level of motivation to mother is not related to changes in neuroplasticity in the SVZ of the female quail. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of neuroendocrinology
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Collective behavior of an aggregate of individuals giving the appearance of unity of attitude, feeling, and motivation.
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