Researchers in Japan killed rats in laboratories after studying how they respond to music. Their study at the University of Tokyo concluded that not only humans move to music, but rats also.
The Japanese scientists played music to rats wearing miniature sensors, attached to their skull, to pick up the movements of the animals. They found rats have an instinctive ability to coordinate their moves to the beat, just like humans do.
After the musical study, the rats were killed. The rats used to experiment on were Wistar rats -one of the most popular rats used for laboratory research- of only nine weeks old.
The researchers’ scientific study led them to discover that rats move to songs by Mozart, Queen and Lady Gaga. “Rats’ brains are designed to respond well to music,” associate professor Hirokazu Takahashi, part of the team who carried out the study, told news agency AFP on Tuesday.
“We wanted to find out what kind of sound connections appeal to the brain, without the influence of emotion or memory,” he said.
For rats, the “bopping” effect was most noticeable for music in the range of 120-140 beats per minute, the same as humans, which led the scientists to believe that it could be a similar reaction across different species.
Unlike other animals, such as parrots, famous for their unique abilities to imitate music and other sounds, it was the first time the Wistar rats in the study had listened to music, researchers said.
The study was published last week in the scientific journal Science Advances. In the past, scientists have criticized the necessity of using animals in experiments in questionable studies.