NPR featured the work of ITM-UChicago researcher Peggy Mason, PhD, on how rats help other rats. Mason found that rats will eagerly help a fellow rat in need, especially when they’re surrounded by other rats willing to lend a helping hand. However, like in humans, if the surrounding crowd is indifferent, the helpful rat is less likely to act. Observing these social dynamics in animals is a standard step in research to help learn more about how brains work.
“We are constantly looking at others to see their reactions. And this is not a human thing. This is a mammalian thing,” said Mason, professor of neurobiology at UChicago.