The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, proves that rats are emotionally motivated to help other rats in distress. In the latest research, rats treated with midazolam did not open the door to a restrainer device with a trapped rat, although control rats normally freed their trapped mates. Midazolam did not affect the rats’ physical ability to open the restrainer door, however. In fact, when the restrainer device contained chocolate instead of a trapped rat, the test rats routinely opened the door. Thus the findings show that the act of helping others may be dampened by the anti-anxiety medication.
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- Inbal Ben-Ami Bartal, Haozhe Shan, Nora M. R. Molasky, Teresa M. Murray, Jasper Z. Williams, Jean Decety, Peggy Mason. (2016). Anxiolytic Treatment Impairs Helping Behavior in Rats. Frontiers in Psychology, 7.