Social memory in the rat: circadian variation and effect of circadian rhythm disruption

L.G.J.E. Reijmers, I.E. Leus, J.P.H. Burbach, B.M. Spruijt, J.M. van Ree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Disruption of circadian rhythm can impair long-term passive avoidance memory of rats and mice. The present study investigated whether disruption of circadian rhythm can also impair social memory of male rats. Social memory was assessed using the social discrimination test, in which a short-term olfactory memory is formed by social interaction with a juvenile rat during a learning trial. After an intertrial interval, a retrieval trial is performed, in which social memory is expressed as a decreased attention paid to the same juvenile as compared to a new juvenile. First, the social memory at four different time points across the light–dark cycle was measured with an intertrial interval of 10 or 25 min. There was no significant circadian variation of social memory across the light–dark cycle. Subsequently, the effect of a -6 or 12-h phase shift on social memory was studied. These phase shifts were previously found to impair long-term passive avoidance memory. However, no effect of either phase shift was observed in the social discrimination test. It is concluded that the disruption of circadian rhythm had no effect on the social memory of rats. Differences between short-term social memory and long-term passive avoidance memory are discussed in relation to their apparent differential susceptibility to the effects of circadian rhythm disruption
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-309
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Circadian rhythm disruption
  • Circadian variation
  • Rat
  • Short-term memory
  • Social memory


Dive into the research topics of 'Social memory in the rat: circadian variation and effect of circadian rhythm disruption'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this