Can rats laugh?

RatWhat happens when you tickle a rat?

When you follow the video link, you’ll hear the tickled rats chirping — an ultrasonic noise that’s audible thanks to the special equipment that enabled Dr. Panksepp and his colleagues to discover this phenomenon. Young rats make the same chirp when they chase and play with one another, and they like to hang out with other rats who chirp at this frequency (50 kHz). It seems to be a happy sound: rats will run mazes and press levers in order to be tickled, and they’ll emit the same chirp when the dopamine reward circuits in the brain are stimulated.

Hear for yourself after the jump.

Video: New York Times (Mov file)
Source: New York Times
Image: Wikipedia
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