Je ne regrette rien…

I  posted recently about the research showing that rats apparently experience regret when they make a bad decision. The same part of the brain is activated in rats as in humans when we are feeling regret at a mistake we have made.

Rats are now being trained to help with the clearing of land mines. It was reported recently that they can do this with 100% accuracy. That is impressive, because few of us (highly trained dogs included) achieve 100% accuracy in performance of learned tasks.

6 Jun 2014 Their light weight, incredible sense of smell and methodical technique makes rats ideal mine detectors.

I hope the researchers have got this right. I, for one, will be experiencing regret if little Terence stuffs up. (Terence, get it?).

However, not to worry. If the rats do make a decision they later come to regret, scientists will be at hand to lessen their sorrow.

 Another article reports that scientists have found a way to erase and restore memories in rats.

Did you ever see the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? A very intriguing film set just a little in the future, when it was possible to erase selected memories. So if you had just broken up with someone, instead of being heartbroken for months, you could just take your photos, love letters and memorabilia in, get hooked up to a laptop and your memories of your ex would be erased overnight. She erases her memories of you, and the next time you see her, she doesn’t even recognise you. You erase your memories of her, but then you meet and unwittingly a new relationship starts… The film has a very clever twist in the plot.

Follow this link for a collection of articles about research involving rats.


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.
This entry was posted in Animal intelligence, Behavioural science, Movies. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Oh, RATS!

  1. John says:

    G’day, Kaye – thanks for the story …..the ever expanding roles of animals seems to be just scratching the surface of our ‘dumb’ animals! Cheers, to you and Clancy, John and Molly XX


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