Rats Show Empathy, Free companions, & Shares Food

A new study shows that there are pro-social behaviors in rats. The experiment had two same-sex rats housed in the same cage for two weeks. This will give them a chance to have a “relationship.” During the test sessions, one rat was able to run free while the other was trapped in a plastic restraining tube. The tube was created so that the free rat is able to free the trapped one if it could figure out how to tip over the door. The result showed that most of the time the free rat tries to help the trapped companion out of the tube. The trap can only be freed if the rat figures out that they can pitch their nose up to the point where they could open the door. There were no lessons prior to teach the rats how to nudge the door open or give them any incentive to. They had to learn it on their own. The research also suggests that females are more empathetic than males since all the female rats learned to open the door while only 17/24 of the males did.

They also experimented with food by having two restraining tubes, one with the trapped rat and the other with chocolate chips. It turns out that half of the time, the rats chose to free their friend and then share the chocolate among each other.

To read more of the study, click here—courtesy of Times Heathland


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