Data from: Female rats release a trapped cagemate following shaping of the door opening response: Opening latency when the restrainer was baited with food, was empty, or contained a cagemate
Blystad, Magnus H. (2019), Data from: Female rats release a trapped cagemate following shaping of the door opening response: Opening latency when the restrainer was baited with food, was empty, or contained a cagemate, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.kb7b0j0
Research on pro-social rat behaviour is growing within the fields of comparative psychology and social neuroscience. However, much work remains on mapping important variables influencing this behavior, and there is even disagreement on whether this behavior is empathetically motivated and correctly labelled pro-social, or whether the behavior is motivated by social contact.
The present study used the helping behaviour paradigm where a rat can release a familiar cagemate from a restrainer. Prior to testing with a trapped cagemate, restrainer door opening was trained and baseline opening latencies when the restrainer was empty or baited with food were established. The findings show that the first-time release occurred sooner than in previous research and that rats used the trained response to release the trapped cagemate. Further, rats opened the restrainer door more often and with shorter latencies when the restrainer contained a cagemate than when the restrainer was empty, but less often and with longer latencies than when the restrainer contened food. Finally, we also found that the door opening persisted across levels of illumination.