Mice Can Show Emotions through Facial Expressions, Study Says


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A new study has found that mice show different facial expressions based on their emotions. In their research, German neurobiologists discovered that mice exhibit different facial expressions, which are so subtle that they cannot be noticed by the human eye. According to the scientists, the expressions are not just reactions to the environment but reflections of underlying emotions, such as pleasure, pain, and fear. Mice that tasted a sweet solution showed a joyous expression, while mice that tasted a salty solution showed disgust. To categorize facial expressions by their corresponding emotions, the scientists subjected the mice to various stimuli while observing the animals’ facial responses. Images of the mice’s facial expressions were then inputted into an AI system. When the system was tested to see whether or not it could determine the mice’s emotions, it was able to guess the emotions accurately 90% of the time. The scientists also noted that aside from stimuli outside the body, emotions can also result from activities in the brain. To test this, the scientists activated parts of the mice's brains associated with emotions in humans. They found that when these brain regions were triggered, the animals exhibited different facial expressions. According to the researchers, the study can lead to a better understanding of how people suffering from mood disorders feel and process their emotions. However, Susanne Schweizer, a neuroscientist not involved in the study, is dubious whether the facial expressions of mice really indicated emotions. She thinks that unlike long-lived human experiences, such as loss of a loved one, the conditions the animals experienced in the study were brief.

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