Kes on Jaak Panksepp ja miks ta närilisi kõditab?

Jaak Panksepp on Eesti juurtega neuroteadlane, kes on kõige paremini tuntud enda uurimuste poolest, mis käsitlevad loomade rõõmutunnet ja selle väljendamist. Panksepp on koos enda meeskonnaga läbi viinud hulgaliselt katseid rottidel, mille tulemusena on muu hulgas avastanud, et kui rotte kõditada, siis teevad nad häälitsusi, mida võib mõningate mööndustega nimetada naeruks ja see tunne koos eelneva kõditamisega meeldib rottidele:

As they progressed with their research, Panksepp and his colleagues found that many of their rats seemed irresistibly drawn to tickling, chasing after the ticklers and making substantially more play chirps while being tickled than during any other behavior. But the researchers weren’t content with anecdotal observations, and over the course of several years and a number of experiments, they systematically documented a dozen separate lines of evidence suggesting that the rats’ tickle chirping corresponded behaviorally to playful laughter in young human children.

They compiled data establishing, among other things, that certain areas of the body are particularly ticklish (the nape of the neck, for you do-it-yourselfers), that the most playful rats tend to be the most ticklish, that rats can become conditioned to chirp simply in anticipation of being tickled, that tickle response rates decline after adolescence, that young rats preferentially spend time with older ones who chirp more frequently, that the tickle response appears to generate social bonding, that chirping decreases in the presence of negative stimuli (such as the scent of a cat), that rats will run mazes and press levers to get tickled, etc. Based on their research and observations, Panksepp and his fellow researchers hypothesized that rats, when being tickled or engaging in other playful activities, experience social joy that they vocalize through 50 kHz chirping, a primordial form of laughter that is evolutionarily related to joyful social laughter in young human children.

Hämmastavalt lõbus, kuid samas oluline panus rõõmu olemuse mõistmisele.

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