Takano, Y., Ukezono, M., Nakashima, S. F. (中嶋智史), Takahashi, N., & Hironaka, N. (2017). Learning of efficient behaviour in spatial exploration through observation of behaviour of conspecific in laboratory rats. 実験室ラットの空間探索における他個体の行動の観察を通じた効率的行動の学習 Royal Society Open Science, 4, 170121 doi: 10.1098/rsos.170121
Recent studies have suggested that rodent behaviour is influenced by the behaviour of surrounding conspecifics (e.g. emotional contagion and prosocial behaviour). However, little is known about deferred imitation and complex observational learning in rats. The purpose of this study was to reveal whether rats can learn from another rat’s experiences. In a maze, observer rats watched the foraging behaviour of other rats (demonstrators) and then foraged in turn. The results showed that demonstrators explored inefficiently, but observers explored more efficiently after observing inefficient exploration by the demonstrators. This observational learning probably involved the acquisition of an efficient strategy through spatial exploration.