Sunday, 20 November 2016

How do you make a rat laugh? Just tickle it, say scientists

Happy rats love to laugh: Scientists have found that rats ‘enjoy’ being tickled – but only if they were already in a good moodAssociated with the plague and demonised in novels such as George Orwell's 1984, rats don’t have the best of reputations.
But the vilified rodents are known to giggle.
Now scientists have found that rats ‘enjoy’ being tickled – but only if they were already in a good mood.
Researchers at Humboldt University of Berlin identified neurons in rats’ brains linked to ticklishness and laughter and by stimulating them, were able to elicit a chuckle from the furry creatures.
The finding suggests the somatosensory cortex - the brain region where the neurons were located - may play some role in mood.
It was previously thought this brain region is primarily associated with the sense of touch.
The study, published in the journal Science, builds on previous work in which it was discovered tickling rats causes them to laugh at high frequencies that are inaudible to humans.
While tickling is easy to do, how the sensation reaches our brain is unclear.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3924300/Rats-ticklish-laugh-good-mood.html#ixzz4QZTLs0KU
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