The process of giving birth to and raising young appears to result in permanent changes in behavior. Recent research has looked in great detail at individual differences in the style of mothering in rats. High licking-grooming dams spend more time grooming their pups than do low licking-grooming dams. It now appears, from cross-fostering studies, that this style of mothering is transmitted to subsequent generations, as offspring of a low licking-grooming dam that are raised by a high licking-grooming dam will show high levels of licking and grooming toward their own pups. Thus, experiential factors that influence maternal care include not only the dam's previous experience as a mother but her own experience of being mothered as an infant.
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