Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rats May Be Pessimistic Too

Date:
January 23, 2004
Source:
University Of Bristol
Summary:
Rats housed in unpredictable conditions appear to have a more negative outlook than those housed in stable, settled conditions, according to new research published in Nature on 22nd January 2004 by scientists at Bristol University Veterinary School.

Rats housed in unpredictable conditions appear to have a more negative outlook than those housed in stable, settled conditions, according to new research published in Nature on 22nd January 2004 by scientists at Bristol University Veterinary School.

Related Articles


The researchers found that whether an animal anticipates that something good or bad is going to happen can provide a clue as to the emotion it may be experiencing. Emma Harding, Liz Paul and Mike Mendl from the Centre for Behavioural Biology at Bristol University consider the research offers a new way for measuring the emotional states of animals, and will help scientists better understand the effects of housing conditions on animal emotion and welfare, so allowing the design of more welfare-friendly animal housing.

“It is very important that we develop good methods for estimating emotional experiences in animals because they are crucial to our understanding of animal welfare. Although we cannot know for certain what emotions are being experienced by other animals, our technique offers a promising new approach,” said Dr Mendl.

Previous research has shown that anxious and depressed people tend to expect bad things to happen – they see the glass as half empty rather than half full – while the opposite is true for happy people. The Bristol team have developed a new technique for investigating whether this is also the case in animals.

Rats were trained that a sound of a particular pitch predicted a good event – the arrival of food – and that another sound of a different pitch predicted a bad event – no food and a short noise. They were then presented with sounds of intermediate pitch to see whether they treated these ambiguous sounds as indicating the good or bad event. Rats kept in unpredictable housing conditions were less likely to treat these sounds as heralding the arrival of the good event than were those housed in stable environments.

“Their judgements show parallels with the negative outlook seen in some depressed people, suggesting that a disrupted home life also disrupts their mood state,” said Dr Harding.

Dr Paul further explained how “Studies have shown that anxious people seem to be particularly on the look out for negative and threatening things, even at a subconscious level. We now have evidence that other animals may behave in a similar way and this is an important finding for animal welfare.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Bristol. "Rats May Be Pessimistic Too." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040122085017.htm>.
University Of Bristol. (2004, January 23). Rats May Be Pessimistic Too. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040122085017.htm
University Of Bristol. "Rats May Be Pessimistic Too." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040122085017.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins