To study the behavioral consequences of microwave irradiation occuring over a relatively short period under well-defined dosimetric conditions. The effects of microwave irradiation on spontaneous motor activity and reactivity to a novel acoustic environmental stimulus were examined in rats.
Microwave-irradiated rats exhibited less activity than sham-exposed rats. The microwave-exposed rats were less responsive to the acoustic stimuli than sham-exposed rats. Microwave irradiation had no effect on the retention of a passive avoidance procedure when tested at 1 week after training. Both the locomotor activity and acoustic startle data show that, under the conditions of this experiment, microwave irradiation may alter responsiveness of rats to novel environmental conditions or stimuli.