Forscher der University of Richmond haben einer Gruppe von 17 Ratten mit Leckerlis beigebracht, ein kleines Elektroauto in Bewegung zu setzen und zu steuern. Dabei haben sie festgestellt, dass das „Fahren“ des elektrischen ROV (rat-operated vehicle) dass Stresslevel der Nager senkte.
To drive the car, a rat would sit on the aluminium plate and touch the copper wire. The circuit was then complete, and the animal could select the direction in which they wanted to travel.
After months of training, the rats learned not only how to make the ratmobile move but also how to change direction, researchers wrote in the journal Behavioural Brain Research.
What did they find?
Some of the rats in the experiment had been raised in a lab, while others lived in “enriched environments” – that is, they had more natural habitats.
The rats raised in “enriched environments” were significantly better drivers than the lab rats.
After the trials, researchers collected the rats’ faeces to test for the stress hormone corticosterone, as well as for dehydroepiandrosterone, an anti-stress hormone.
All of the rats had higher levels of dehydroepiandrosterone, which the scientists believe could be linked to the satisfaction of having learned a new skill.
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