Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2019

Capstone Advisor

Catherine Cornwell

Honors Reader

Lawrence Lewandowski

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Other Psychology | Psychology


This study pertained to the effects of environmental enrichment, which is a physical post-weaning treatment that has been shown to induce beneficial changes in behavior, in two mouse models. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social behavior and communication. It has been found to develop due to both genetic and environmental influences, and to be comorbid with anxiety disorders. The present study assessed anxious behavior, as measured by the elevated plus task, as an indirect symptom of Autism. Maternally separated CD-1 mice were used as a model of environmentally influenced autism and BTBR mice were used as a model of genetically influenced autism. The results indicated that the process of maternal separation did not induce more anxious behavior when compared to controls, but environmental enrichment was found to reduce anxious behavior in both maternally separated animals and controls. They also indicated that there was an effect of strain on behavior when comparing BTBR mice and controls, but no significant effects of enrichment were found.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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