Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2001 Hilary Clay. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Biology Department

First Advisor

Sara Hiebert Burch


Fever can be spontaneously induced in mammals by exposure to a novel environment. This stress fever is a true fever which can be blocked by the addition of NSAIDs such as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin). In this experiment we sought to determine whether or not this fever could have a beneficial effect on learning ability in the Djungarian hamster, Phodopus sungorus. Learning ability was assessed through the use of a T-maze in which accessible food was available on one side of the maze. The percentage of correct turns out of the first 10 was used as the indication of maze performance. Results were analyzed using ANOVA, Fisher's PLSD, and Student's t-test. In the first experiment we confirm the existence of stress fevers in our model animal by finding the difference in core temperature before and after exposure to a novel environment (p < 0.05). The second experiment looks at maze performance in animals with and without LPS-induced fever and found that animals with LPS-induced fever performed significantly better than controls, as well as those animals administered aspirin and LPS, animals administered LPS alone, or animals run 24 hours after LPS injection (p < 0.05). These results suggest that the fever response has a beneficial effect on maze performance which is downstream of the prostaglandin pathway.