Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Melissa J Coleman

Reader 2

Cathy Reed

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.


Kin recognition, the ability of organisms to distinguish kin from non-kin, is an important driver or influencer of many social behaviors such as affiliative relationships, mate choice, predator avoidance, altruism, and other behaviors. It has also been observed in a diverse range of organisms from rats and social birds to whales. Despite its prevalence including across mammals and importance very little is known about the neural basis of kinship recognition. Based on a recent study that discovered the organization of kin and non-kin responsive odor neurons in the Lateral Septum of rats, I propose a series of optogenetics experiments to test the role of the neurons in the Ventral Lateral Septum (VLS) on sibling preference and avoidance behavior in young and old rats. I predict the inhibition and activation of the VLS neurons will change the sibling preference and avoidance of young and old rats via influencing their kin recognition. These experiments will improve our understanding of the neural basis of kinship recognition.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.