Rats!

Here is another interesting piece of scientific research which suggests that animals have more sophisticated mental and emotional lives than we give them credit for. This is an article from Science Alert.

See the article.

Rats experience regret

FELICITY NELSON
THURSDAY, 12 JUNE 2014

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Humans aren’t the only animals that feel bad about making poor choices.

This is possibly the cutest research ever. Adam Steiner and David Redish from the University of Minnesota have shown that rats feel regret just like we do!
The scientists used an experiment, which they nicknamed “Restaurant Row”, to create choices for rats. The rats would enter the maze and hear a tone that would indicate how long they would have to wait for food. They could then decide to linger at a particular spot or move onto the next position, where food of varying quality was available. Rats who made what they perceived to be the wrong choice wistfully looked back at the food they could have had (adorable, isn’t it?).
More conclusively, however, rats experiencing regret were more likely to wait at the second zone to receive a food reward and rushed to eat whatever was provided. Scientists say this is a demonstration of regret. Brain scans taken afterwards showed increased activity in the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with reward calculations and feelings of regret in humans.
“In humans, a part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex is active during regret. We found that in rats recognising that they made a mistake, their orbitofrontal cortex represented the missed opportunity,” Prof Redish told BBC reporter, Zoe Gough.
“Interestingly, the rat’s orbitofrontal cortex represented what the rat should have done, not the missed reward. This makes sense because you don’t regret the thing you didn’t get, you regret the thing you didn’t do.”
The research was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
Source: BBC

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About transformational1

I have many interests and I have had a varied career. I am a semi-retired professional dog trainer, specialising in the use of positive reinforcement. I do some consultations, I run instructor workshops and I am setting up a Dogs and Psychotherapy Research Project. I have a law degree from Melbourne University (but have never practiced) and I am passionate about Human Rights. My first degree was in Sociology. I worked as a social researcher on issues such as low income housing, women's refuges and women in the workforce. I live in an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia, and I have a German Shepherd called Chance.
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