Do female rats behave pro-socially?

[Speaker] Hata, Yumi:1
[Co-author] Hata, Toshimichi:2
1:Graduate School of Literature and Human Sciences, Osaka City University (Japan), 2:Faculty of Psychology, Doshisha University (Japan)

To confirm whether pro-social behaviors occur in female rats, we tried to replicate the findings of Experiment 3 of Bartal et al. (2011). A rat (free rat) was placed in an arena with two cylinders. In both of Experimental (E) and Control (C) groups, one cylinder contained five chocolate chips. The other cylinder was empty in C group while it contained a female rat (trapped rat). We found that the free rats in E group opened the door of the cylinder containing a trapped rat more quickly than the empty one in C group during day 8 to 12. This result indicates that a pro-social behavior as a "helping" occurred in female rats. In contrast to the Bartal's finding, however, there was no difference in the number of chocolate chip consumed by the free rats between groups. This result suggests a pro-social behavior as a "food sharing" did not occur.
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