It is not always easy to estimate how long a task will take. Except rats. These rodents are able to evaluate their performance and adjust their behavior accordingly to do better next time. This is according to a new international study.
Man is not the only animal that can estimate a temporal error in his actions. Rats can do that too! We owe this discovery to researchers from the CNRS and the CEA, as well as to a researcher from the Polish Academy of Sciences. The team of scientists tested the rats’ time management by developing a behavioral task in which the rodents learned to press a lever for at least 3.2 seconds.
In a second step, two distributors provided a reward in feeders based on the animal’s performance. If he performed the requested task in under 3.2 seconds, he got food from the left feeder. Possibly in court. Thus, the rats could understand that they would receive a reward based solely on their accuracy.
Third, the rodents had a choice between the two dispensers. They got a reward if they chose a particular feeder. The scientists found that the rats chose the dispenser that matched their timing error. Those on the left if they completed the assigned task in less than 3.2 seconds, and those on the right if they took longer.
The researchers found that in each trial, the rats rated the accuracy with which they performed the requested task. They were even able to estimate their margin of error. Contrary to what one might think, rats are very intelligent animals. Their good episodic memory allows them to remember multiple and different information from past experiences. They are even capable of solidarity and altruism, according to a study by Japanese scientists and another study from the University of Chicago.
Inspirational, isn’t it?
(ETX Daily Up)