Somatosensory deprivation (bilateral vibrissa clipping) was performed on new born (P1) and adult (P80) rats and, on 10 successive days starting on days 81, the effect of sensory deprivation was tested in a rectangular maze versus controls. The maze performance (the time to reach the goal-box with food reward) of the P80 animals was significantly poorer than that of P1 animals. The tests repeatedly demonstrated, however, that the maze performance achieved by the P1 animals was better than that of the controls. This behavioural study clearly revealed that early sensory deprivation induced (probably cross-modal) compensatory changes in other sensory systems.
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