Summer Research

I am very excited about my research opportunity this summer.  The name of my project is “An Animal Model of Bullying: Exploratory Development.” My research will examine the effects of social interaction in the rat in a “bullying” context.  In brief sessions one rat will exert non-harming and naturally occurring dominance over another rat (“bullying”) and the bullied rat will be assessed for effects of the social interaction on short and long-term residual anxiety. Primary interest is in how bullying experiences affect anxiety and my main goal is to develop an animal model that can be used to better understand behavioral and possibly neural correlates of bullying experiences. Questions my research is designed to address include: (1) how long-lasting are the effects of a bullying experience? (2) does a prior bullying experience impair cognitive function and the ability to learn? (3) what sorts of experiences, including positive social experiences, mitigate or reduce the negative effects of bullying?