New York, March 30: Rats have the ability to link cause and effect such that they can expect, or imagine, something happening even if it isn’t, reveals a new study. The findings are important to understanding human reasoning, especially in older adults, as ageing degrades the ability to maintain information about unobserved events, the researchers said. The recent study draws from long-understood ideas that when a rat (or dog or pigeon) observes one event followed by another, such as a tone followed by food, it forms an association between the events. After the association is formed, whenever the rat hears the tone, it expects food to follow. “What I have shown in my research is that rats not only acquire these types of associations between two events, they can form a causal link between them as well,” said lead researcher Aaron Blaisdell from University of California, Los Angeles. The rat appears to believe that the tone causes the food, according to the findings presented recently at the Congress of Neurological Surgeons meet. The researchers found that once rats observe two events together, it not only forms an association but also an expectation. For example, if two lights occur at the same time, a rat will expect one light to occur whenever the other one does. (IANS)
Even rats can imagine and reason!