Researchers Train Rats To Drive Tiny Cars (phys.org) 74
Posted by BeauHD on Thursday October 24, 2019 @10:10PM from the rat-race dept.
New submitter BytePusher shares a report from Phys.Org:
U.S. scientists have reported successfully training a group of rodents to drive tiny cars in exchange for bits of Froot Loops cereal, and found that learning the task lowered their stress levels. Their study [published in the journal Behavioral Brain Research] not only demonstrates how sophisticated rat brains are, but could one day help in developing new non-pharmaceutical forms of treatment for mental illness, senior author Kelly Lambert of the University of Richmond told AFP on Wednesday. Lambert said she had long been interested in neuroplasticity -- how the brain changes in response to experience and challenges -- and particularly wanted to explore how well rats that were housed in more natural settings ("enriched environments") performed against those kept in labs.
She and colleagues modified a robot car kit by adding a clear plastic food container to form a driver compartment with an aluminum plate placed on the bottom. A copper wire was threaded horizontally across the cab to form three bars: left, center and right. When a rat placed itself on the aluminum floor and touched the wire, the circuit was complete and the car moved in the direction selected. Seventeen rats were trained over several months to drive around an arena 150 centimeters by 60 centimeters made of plexiglass. As she had suspected, Lambert found that the animals kept in stimuli-rich environments performed far better than their lab rat counterparts, but "it was actually quite shocking to me that they were so much better," she said.
"This makes me curious what the implications are for humans, their work environments, job performance and social mobility," writes BytePusher.
... and #cute
, cos, y'know, that's the sort of "research program" "researchers" do. ;D
as i commented when i saw it:
[2019-10-25 20:05:45] * Digit sees the article, and thinks """researchers""" riiiiiight.
[2019-10-25 20:06:59] <@Digit> any research project that starts of with "dude, we should totally..." needs investigating whether "research project" is the right term n_n ;D
[2019-10-25 20:07:20] * Digit imagines the scene "dude, we should totally train rats to drive little cars"
[2019-10-25 20:09:37] <@Digit> "it was actually quite shocking to me that they were so much better,"
[2019-10-25 20:10:24] <@Digit> yeah, oh golly, who knew, if you keep sentient beings caged in a box, they suffer a detriment. :/ :P
[2019-10-25 20:10:39] <@Digit> dear half brains... n_n am i right? n_n
[2019-10-25 20:12:31] <@Digit> cant help but think of julian assange's media witnessed deterioration from his incarceration. and the millions needlessly imprisoned for being in the wrong place and the wrong colour and the wrong time for the farce of fascist fuckwittery.
New submitter BytePusher shares a report from Phys.Org: U.S. scientists have reported successfully training a group of rodents to drive tiny cars in exchange for bits of Froot Loops cereal, and found that learning the task lowered their stress levels. Their study [published in the journal Behaviora...science.slashdot.org