Tickling Rats: Rats Respond with Joy, Jumps and ‘Laughter’ When Tickled
BENDEDREALITY.COM – November 2016
Many feel that humans are far different from all other life forms and as a result they make a great number of false assumptions as to what other animals are able or capable of feeling and experiencing.
Some interesting and fascinating results were derived from a study by Neuroscientist Shimpei Ishiyama and his advisors about rats reacting just like humans do to being tickled, and just like humans their mood affected their ability to be tickled.
Sciencemag reports: “When Ishiyama and Brecht tickled rats, the animals produced noises and other joyful responses. During the tickling, the authors observed nerve cell activity in deep layers of the somatosensory cortex corresponding to the animals’ trunks. Furthermore, microstimulation of this brain region evoked the same behavior. Just as in humans, mood could modulate this neuronal activity. Anxiety-inducing situations suppressed the cells’ firing, and the animal could no longer be tickled.”
So essentially when in a good mood they enjoy a good tickling (just as we do) and under stress the tickling reaction is suppressed.
According to the study, the rats emitted ultrasonic vocalizations in response to tickling by humans which is the equivalent to human laughing. “We confirmed that tickling of rats evoked vocalizations, approach, and unsolicited jumps”. The rats also became more responsive to being played with after they were tickled, which suggests a neuronal link between tickling and play.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to assume we are so different even if differentiated by species, and after all rats are mammals just as humans are mammals. We can hope studies like these may eventually help us become more ‘awake’ and one day (hopefully sooner that later) we will stop the mistreatment some of us do onto other mammals, and all other creatures for that matter, great and small.
info/data source: science.sciencemag.org
video source: Sequence Media Group
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