Scientists have taught rats to drive cars – and found they enjoyed it.
A new experiment, conducted by psychology professor Kelly Lambert transformed a food container into a miniature car by adding wheels and copper bans.
Lambert and her colleagues at the University of Richmond trained the rats by constantly rewarding them with food every time they moved the plastic car forward. As the experiment went on, the team placed the food further away to encourage the rats to fine-tune their driving.
The rats learnt how to control the direction of the car by gripping the left, middle and right copper bars with their paws. Analysis of their body chemistry suggested that they found the task enjoyable.
Lambert told ‘New Scientist’: “They learned how to navigate the car in unique ways and engaged in steering patterns they had never used to eventually arrive at the reward.”