Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Norway rats reciprocate help according to the quality of the help they received

25.02.2015

Research performed at the University of Bern indicates that animals beyond Homo sapiens consider the value of previously received help when deciding whether to help a social partner.

Reciprocal exchange of services and commodities among conspecifics is common, and has been observed for instance in primates, vampire bats and rats. For humans, a predominant factor influencing the motivation to reciprocate help is the individual’s perceived benefit resulting from the value of received help.


Rats provided by a social partner with attractive food, such as a banana, return this favour more readily than if the previous reward was rather unappealing, such as a carrot.

Vassilissa Dolivo

Hitherto, it was unclear whether outside of humans the value of a received reward may affect the decision to cooperate reciprocally, independently of other parameters such as the partner’s identity or it’s furnished effort.

Using Norway rats, Vassilissa Dolivo and Michael Taborsky, two researchers at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution from the University of Bern, have found that animals other than humans also reciprocate help according to the quality of help they received.

The study appeared in the journal «Biology Letters». According to Vassilissa Dolivo, Norway rats were chosen because of their ability to perform experimental tasks under laboratory conditions, as of their high degree of sociality in the wild and their known ability to cooperate on the basis of the decision rule of direct reciprocity – that is «helping someone who has helped you before».

Banana providers preferred

Twenty female wild-type Norway rats were tested in a variant of the prisoner’s dilemma paradigm. Each test rat received food items differing in value and attractiveness from two different social partners that provided either a preferred, «high quality» reward – pieces of banana – or a less relished, «low quality» reward – pieces of carrot. The quality of the offered food was the only variable parameter for test rats to distinguish between different cooperators.

Subsequently, the test rats could decide to provide their previous banana or carrot providers with oat flakes. «The test rats showed a clear preference to pay back help to the partner that had provided them with the preferred food», says Michael Taborsky. «They helped previous banana providers much quicker than previous carrot providers.»

According to the authors, these results demonstrate that animals can consider the value of previously received help when deciding whether to help a social partner. This may have important implications for our understanding of reciprocal cooperation in nature, for which, as Vassilissa Dolivo points out, «evidence is increasing throughout vertebrates, from fishes to primates».

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.kommunikation.unibe.ch/content/medien/medienmitteilungen/news/2015/he...

Nathalie Matter | Universität Bern

Further reports about: Banana Biology Ecology Evolution bats experimental tasks laboratory conditions

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources
29.05.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

nachricht Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke
29.05.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>