Sometimes life really can be a rat race. U.S. scientists have reported successfully training a group of the rodents to drive tiny cars in exchange for bits of Froot Loops cereal, and found that learning the task lowered their stress levels.
Their study not only demonstrates how sophisticated rat brains are, but could one day help in developing new non-pharmaceutical forms of treatment for mental illness, senior author Kelly Lambert of the University of Richmond told Agence France-Press (AFP) on Wednesday.
Lambert said she had long been interested in neuroplasticity - how the brain changes in response to experience and challenges - and particularly wanted to explore how well rats that were housed in more natural settings ("enriched environments") performed against those kept in labs.
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