Induction of emotion by vocal signals in rats as measured by a cognitive bias task

[Speaker] Saito, Yumi:1
[Co-author] Yuki, Shoko:1, Kagawa, Hiroko:1, Seki, Yoshimasa:1, Okanoya, Kazuo:1
1:The university of Tokyo, The graduate school of Arts and Sciences (Japan)

Emotional contagion is one of the empathic responses. Past studies show that rodents exhibit behaviors that could be interpreted as emotional contagion in various contexts but whether the internal emotional state was also affected was not known. Rats emit 50kHz ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) under a positive emotion and 22kHz USV under a negative emotion. Here we utilize a cognitive bias task to demonstrate emotional contagion in rats. Animals were trained todifferentiate their operant level pressing behavior by food reward or by noise avoidance with associated discriminative stimuli. After the 50 kHz USVs stimulationrats interpreted ambiguous stimuli as positive, while after the 22 kHz USV stimulation, the same stimulus was regarded as negative. Results suggest that conspecific USVs can bring about positive or negative emotion to the rats listening the vocal signals, indicating emotional contagion. (Supported by Kakenhi #23118003)
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