Tiddlyweeds are furry, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a little bit creepy.
They’re known to be the kind of pet who will snuggle up to you and play with you, and even when you don’t have any pets, they’re still kind of cute and cuddly.
Now, scientists at the University of Melbourne have found that tiddlers who aren’t actually animals are better at being cute.
The team, led by Associate Professor of Animal Behavioural Science Dr Joanna Breen and her PhD student Professor Mark Gavigan, found that the more tiddles people were in contact with the animal, the more their own brains showed activity in a region called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which is associated with empathy and social behaviour.
“In other words, if you’re interacting with an animal, and you’re close enough, then your brain shows that your brain is responding to your own feelings, which in turn helps to make the animal feel comfortable,” Professor Gavigan said.
“It’s kind of a self-evident idea.”
“This is one of the first studies to show that it works in this way.”
“The anterior cingsulate is a very important brain region for social behaviour, for how we think and feel about other people.”
Professor Gawigan explained that this “social” behaviour may be one of tiddling’s main strengths, and that it also plays a role in learning new tricks.
“Tiddlers are not animals, but their interactions with animals do affect the brain, so we thought it would be interesting to see whether that would be a problem in this case, because the ACC is a key brain region in learning how to act in a social situation,” he said.
The researchers had previously shown that tids were particularly good at learning tricks, like going to a certain room and getting a specific object.
They then trained tiddlings to interact with a rat, who had been trained to behave like a human mouse.
“When they interact with the rat, they start to use their brain to learn new tricks,” Professor Breen said.
Professor Gavan said that they then tested the rats’ ability to learn the correct behaviour, by putting them in different situations.
“After just one session, we could see that rats who were tiddled with other rats showed significantly better learning,” he explained.
The researchers also used the tiddlrs’ brain activity to see if the rats were more successful at learning the correct response to a specific situation, like when they were asked to interact or when they needed to be tested for their ability. “
The rats that were tied with other dogs and cats had even better learning ability, with their ability to remember and respond to cues from the environment.”
The researchers also used the tiddlrs’ brain activity to see if the rats were more successful at learning the correct response to a specific situation, like when they were asked to interact or when they needed to be tested for their ability.
“We could see in the experiments that the rats who had previously been tied to a mouse, they had even greater improvements in their ability,” Professor Boerner said.
They also discovered that the difference between tiddlies that had been tayed and those that had not was just a result of a slight change in the amount of blood coming from the animals, which the researchers believe was due to a change in their blood flow to the brain.
The research is published in Current Biology.
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