・Authors: Nakashima, S. F., Ukezono, M., & Takano, Y.(中嶋智史・請園正敏・高野裕治)

・Title: Painful Experiences in Social Contexts Facilitate Sensitivity to Emotional Signals of Pain from Conspecifics in Laboratory Rats

・Journal(書誌情報): Animals

・doi:   https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14091280

・論文URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14091280

・Abstract: Previous studies demonstrated that laboratory rats could visually receive emotional pain signals from conspecifics through pictorial stimuli. The present study examined whether a prior painful emotional experience of the receiver influenced the sensitivity of emotional expression recognition in laboratory rats. The experiment comprised four phases: the baseline preference test, pain manipulation test, post-manipulation preference test, and state anxiety test. In the baseline phase, the rats explored an apparatus comprising two boxes to which pictures of pain or neutral expressions of other conspecifics were attached. In the pain manipulation phase, each rat was allocated to one of three conditions: foot shock alone (pained-alone; PA), foot shock with other unfamiliar conspecifics (pained-with-other; PWO), or no foot shock (control). In the post-manipulation phase, the animals explored the apparatus in the same manner as they did in the baseline phase. Finally, an open-field test was used to measure state anxiety. These findings indicate that rats in the PWO group stayed longer per entry in a box with photographs depicting a neutral disposition than in a box with photographs depicting pain after manipulation. The results of the open-field test showed no significant differences between the groups, suggesting that the increased sensitivity to pain expression in other individuals due to pain experiences in social settings was not due to increased primary state anxiety. Furthermore, the results indicate that rats may use a combination of self-painful experiences and the states of other conspecifics to process the emotional signal of pain from other conspecifics. In addition, changes in the responses of rats to facial expressions in accordance with social experience suggest that the expression function of rats is not only used for emotional expressions but also for communication.