I had to make a choice whether to add the topic "Cute Animals" or not. These rats do look quite cute but still....they are rats. But to offset that...driving the cars in the videos is very cute.
In one of my college classes I worked with rats so I know they can be taught simple tasks but this seems much more sophisticated.
And the results very interesting:
Learning to drive seemed to relax the rats. The researchers assessed this by measuring levels of two hormones: corticosterone, a marker of stress, and dehydroepiandrosterone, which counteracts stress. The ratio of dehydroepiandrosterone to corticosterone in the rats’ faeces increased over the course of their driving training.
This finding echoes Lambert’s previous work showing that rats become less stressed after they master difficult tasks like digging up buried food. They may get the same kind of satisfaction as we get when we perfect a new skill, she says. “In humans, we call this self-efficacy or agency.”
In support of this idea, the team found that rats that drove themselves had higher dehydroepiandrosterone levels and were less stressed than rats that were driven around as passengers in remote-controlled cars.
And they probably are better drivers than most of the humans out there. What do you think?