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Science Idle

Study: Rats Regret Making the Wrong Decision 94

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered that rats in a decision making experiment showed three behaviors consistent with regret. David Redish and his graduate student Adam Steiner '...trained rats to do a task they call "restaurant row." The rat ran around a circle past a series of four spokes, each leading to a different flavor of food. As the rat came to the entrance of each spoke, a tone sounded that indicated how long it would have to wait to receive that specific flavor of food. The rat could choose whether to stay or go, depending on how much it liked that food and how long it would have to wait...The rats showed three behaviors consistent with regret. First, the rats only looked backwards in the regret conditions, and not in the disappointment conditions. Second, they were more likely to take a bad deal if they had just passed up a good deal. And third, instead of taking their time eating and then grooming themselves afterwards, the rats in the regret conditions wolfed down the food and immediately took off to the next restaurant.'"
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Study: Rats Regret Making the Wrong Decision

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  • Re:Duh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:11AM (#47193055)

    Really. Its a "food web", plenty of interactions between species. If you wanted to place any specie on the "top" of the food chain, it would be an apex preditor, which is not a very secure niche at all, any problem and the whole heap "simplifies", removing you first. (Tigers are endangered, phytoplankton, not so much)
            Level 1: Plants and algae make their own food and are called primary producers.
            Level 2: Herbivores eat plants and are called primary consumers.
            Level 3: Carnivores that eat herbivores are called secondary consumers.
            Level 4: Carnivores that eat other carnivores are called tertiary consumers.
            Level 5: Apex predators that have no predators are at the top of the food chain.
      A team of French researchers set about calculating the human trophic level (HTL) for every country for which data is available, and their results were published in PNAS. They found that the global HTL average is 2.21, which puts the human diet on par with pigs and anchovies.
    So we are slightly below the middle for the average diet.


  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Informative)

    by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @01:49AM (#47193287)
    In a former life, i worked at a pet store. People would often come in looking for a hamster or gerbil. I'd say, "ok, but first let me show you these rats."

    Most people balked at the idea. Every once in a while someone would recognize that spark of intelligence, friendliness and curiosity that makes them such wonderful pets. Those people who purchased a rat invariably came back to tell me what a wonderful pet it was. Often times they would come back for their next rat years later. By years, i of course mean just 2ish. The unfortunate thing about pet rats is they just don't live that long.

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.