A new research at University College London has made a surprising discovery about rats: they just don’t dream of food, or cheese or nightmares involving cats! Oh no, the dreams of this furry little adventurist are way more intricate than previously imagined. Disney’s Ratatouille was on the mark in showing us we underestimate these street rodents!
While they are snoring away, rats are actually dreaming of adventure and heavenly places they want to go to next. (Scrat from Ice Age, anyone?)
Researchers claim that when the rodents are shown an inaccessible food treat, they’re likely to dream about how they can get it when they drop off to sleep.
Or as lead researcher Hugo Spiers put it: ‘It’s like looking at a holiday brochure for Greece the day before you go – that night you might dream about the pictures.’
The finding was made by the team after they placed four rats at the bottom of a T-shaped pathway, where the animals could see the food but could not reach it.
They were then nudged to fall asleep in a nest – and their brain activity was recorded with 50 electrodes as they slept.
And after they were finally put back in the maze , the animals were seen to run along the arm of the T shape that had been previously blocked – which suggested that they had been carefully planning their strategy while in the land of nod.
However, fascinating as it may be, the the trick is very reminiscent of the film Inception. The researchers stimulated the brains of mice so that they were more likely to run to a certain place when awake – creepy mind control game?
I wouldn’t be surprised if this was possible to achieve in humans. After all, if someone told me there was a scrumptious slice of chocolate cake waiting in the fridge when I woke up, it would definitely be my first little journey of the day!