Diet and Cognition

Document Type


Publication Date



Thirty-two male Holtzman rats from two strains were bred for differential saccharin-preference (HiS v. LoS), which is known to parallel differences in activity and emotionality, and is generally regarded as a model of individual differences in response to macronutrient consumption. This purpose of this experiment was to examine possible differential cognitive behavior of the strains in response to a short-term diet modification. Subjects aged 62 to 172 days at the start of the study received one of two diets for a period of four weeks. The first diet was a mixture of lab chow, mineral oil, and water, and served as the control, most closely resembling normal nutritional intake for laboratory rats. The second diet was high in fat and energy and contained lab chow, corn oil, and other additives. After four weeks of exclusive exposure to these diets, rats were tested on putative measures of learning and memory, the eight-arm radial maze, and the passive avoidance box. All animals showed graded learning on the eight arm maze with a peak performance at around the eighth day. A marginal interaction of diet and errors (a < .05) was observed but there was no significant difference between the strains. In addition, the passive avoidance test yielded only a main effect.


N. Dess




National Science Foundation-AIRE

This document is currently not available here.