Linda Wilkin-Krug's PAM
Linda Wilkin-Krug, a PhD Candidate of Victoria University of Wellington will speak on:
The effects of environmental enrichment on higher social and cognitive functioning in a rat model of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
This project aims to establish a rat model to study the effects of environmental enrichment (EE) on higher social and cognitive functions in the context of ASD.
To date, no known studies have looked at how EE affects higher social and cognitive functions in ASD. Patients with ASD often have a deficit in higher social abilities and metacognition and, while previous animal research has investigated helping behaviours and metacognitive abilities in neurotypical rats, we aim to investigate this in an immune model for ASD.
First, a maternal immune response will be triggered, followed by assessment of the offspring’s higher social and metacognitive abilities, as well as more basic social behaviours traditionally assessed in rodent models of ASD. In the second phase, animals will be tested in the same assays either after standard housing or
environmental enrichment to evaluate whether the latter improves higher social functions and metacognition in ASD.