Scientists have figured out how to make rats gamblers in the "rat casino"
A new study of gambling problems using the "rat casino" model found that the addition of flashes of light and music encouraged rats to make more risky decisions. Blocking a certain type of receptor reduced the effect of this effect, but only in those rats that risked reasonably in the absence of light and sound. Online casino cannot boast of such premises and tricks, but even they manage to make the design so that nothing distracts the player from the game.
The halls of any successful casino are filled with bright lights and music, and slot machines are welcoming flashing lights. To understand how sound and light influence the behavior of visitors, scientists from the University of British Columbia conducted a study on the "rat casino" model. The results of their experiments are presented in an article in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The "rat casino" device, which scientists used for experiments, is based on the implementation of a psychological task IGT (Iowa Gambling Task) for animals. Instead of a monetary gain, the scientists used treats that the rats received in different quantities or, accordingly, did not receive when choosing one of several options.
As a rule, rats quickly developed a strategy with minimal risks, which provided them with a reasonably stable reception of the treat. This changed, however, when scientists added beeps and flashing lights to the experiment. The presence of light and sound turned rats capable of making more or less reasonable choices into risky gamblers, ready to raise rates to the limit.
Further studies showed that blocking the D3 dopamine receptors reduced the effect of this effect, and their additional activation led to a corresponding increase in the effect. At the same time, for experiments with an ordinary "rat casino" - without light and sound - the role of the dopamine receptor as a modulator of the willingness of rats to take risks was not shown.
Since dopamine D3 receptors are also related to drug addiction, scientists have suggested that different defects may have a common origin. Further insight into the molecular basis of gambling problems in rats will help identify solutions to the same problems in humans.