Receiving of emotional signal of pain from conspecifics in laboratory rats

Satoshi F. Nakashima, Masatoshi Ukezono, Hiroshi Nishida, Ryunosuke Sudo, Yuji Takano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Though recent studies have shown that rodents express emotions with their face, whether emotional expression in rodents has a communicative function between conspecifics is still unclear. Here, we demonstrate the ability of visual recognition of emotional expressions in laboratory rats. We found that Long- Evans rats avoid images of pain expressions of conspecifics but not those of neutral expressions. The results indicate that rats use visual emotional signals from conspecifics to adjust their behaviour in an environment to avoid a potentially dangerous place. Therefore, emotional expression in rodents, rather than just a mere ‘expression’ of emotional states, might have a communicative function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140381
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Avoidance behaviour
  • Facial expression
  • Laboratory rat
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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