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Data from: Social context alters spatial memory performance in free-living male prairie voles

Citation

Ophir, Alexander (2019), Data from: Social context alters spatial memory performance in free-living male prairie voles, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0vt4b8gtp

Abstract

Spatial memory is crucial for mating success because it enables males to locate potential mates and potential competitors in space. Intraspecific competition and its varying intensity under certain conditions are potentially important for shaping spatial memory. For example, spatial memory could enable males to know where competitors are (contest competition), it could help males find mating partners (scramble competition), or both. We manipulated the intensity of intraspecific competition in two distinct contexts by altering the operational sex ratio of prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) living in outdoor enclosures by creating male- and female-biased sex ratios. After living freely under these contexts for four weeks, we compared males’ performance in a laboratory spatial memory test. Males in the male-biased context demonstrated better spatial memory performance than males in the female-biased context. Notably, these data show that in spite of experiencing equally complexspatialcontexts (i.e., natural outdoor enclosures), it was the social context that influenced spatial cognition, and it did so in a manner consistent with the hypothesis that spatial memory is particularly relevant for male-male interactions. Attached are the supporting data for this project.