3-MT Presentation 2019

Electrical Stimulation Associated with Ultrasonic Vocalization in Rats

Some years ago a small town, not in Alberta, was over-run by rats

The people asked the mayor to do something so the mayor put out a tender for someone to get rid of the rats and The Pied Piper won the contract

He came to the town and danced through the streets playing his “magic flute”

The people could not hear any sounds but the rats came out of every nook and cranny and followed him

He led the rats to the river where they all drown

Now many people will tell you that this is just a story as rats can swim very well

But why did the rats follow the Pied Piper?

I think it is because he had a “magic flute” that was capable of playing high pitched sounds that the rats found pleasurable

It is known that rats produce these high pitched vocalizations when being tickled, while playing with litter mates, and in anticipation of food, sex, some drugs

In my research …

I will be looking at rats receiving Electrical Stimulation deep in the brain when they poke their nose in a tunnel

I will analyze the high pitched vocalizations being produced while the rats are stimulated

I will determine if there are specific vocalization patterns emitted by rats associated with the rewarding electrical stimulation of the brain

If the rats continue to poke their nose into the tunnel to receive the electrical stimulation and they emit high pitched sounds while doing this behavior, then my experiment demonstrates a biological and behavioral basis of reinforcement

That the observable or measurable behavior is repeated indicates that the stimulation is positively reinforcing

Today there is an increase in the use of deep brain stimulation as a neurological treatment. My research provides an animal model for determining where pleasure centers are in the brain