Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Third Advisor

Dr. Jay Means

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) is suspected to produce long lasting cognitive deficits in children and adults. This study assessed the effects of dietary exposure to a commercial mixture of PCBs on spatial learning and memory in Fisher 344 rats. Aroclor 1254 (0, 10, 50 ppm) was administered for 28 consecutive days in the daily diet. Seven days after the last dietary exposure, acquisition training began in an eight-arm radial maze. Following 28 days of acquisition training, "working" memory was assessed using a delayed win/shift procedure. Each delay (20 minutes, 2 hours, and 6 hours) was examined on three consecutive days. The results demonstrated that developmental dietary exposure to Aroclor 1254 impaired RAM acquisition, with little impact on performance during the delayed win/shift procedure. Specifically, animals treated with the 50 ppm dose exhibited significantly more errors during the acquisition phase than those treated with the 10 ppm dose or those in the control group. Suggestions for extensions to this research are discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons