The Column

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Japanese mice become winos for research

Scientists at the University of Hiroshima discovered it's not that hard to teach a rodent the finer points of wine selection.

Here's the story from some website called io9, and another from Slashdot:

... as the researchers speculate, it might just be the mice liked what they liked, and no amount of rewards or conditioning could persuade them to choose a different wine: More importantly, 2 other mice exhibited lower than 30% concordance, indicating that they were more attracted to the nonrewarded red wine compared with the learned one. This result suggested that the individual mice directed attention to different subsets of volatile components emanating from the rewarded red wine, when they were trained to choose the liquor odor in the Y-maze ...

Now, I'm not making any statements of the veracity of this story, but I just can't make stuff like this up.