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培训鼠类学习开车——能学到啥?

wzyxm 于2019-11-19发布 l 已有人浏览
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研究表明,开车作为一种活动可以帮助鼠类放松。项研究可能为患有精神疾病的人开辟非药物治疗的新领域。
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Scientists Trained Rats to Drive Cars。 What Did They Learn?

培训鼠类学习开车——能学到啥?

Mice and rats have long been used in medical research because of their biological similarities to humans.

长期以来,人们一直将鼠类用于医学研究,因为鼠类在生理上跟人类很相似。

The tiny animals have already shown an ability to recognize objects, push buttons and find their way through complex paths.

鼠类虽然小,但他们已经展现出识别物体的能力了,他们还能推动按钮并在复杂的路径中穿梭来寻找自己的方向。

Now, scientists have trained rats to drive small vehicles created for them。 One of the main findings of the experiment was that the driving activity seemed to help the rats relax。

现在,科学家培训了一些鼠类来驾驶为它们创建的小车。此次实验的一项主要发现是:开车作为一种活动可以帮助鼠类放松。

Researchers at the University of Richmond in Virginia led the experiment。 Their findings were published in Behavioural Brain Research。

弗吉尼亚州里士满大学的科学家牵头做了这项实验。他们的发现成果发布在了《大脑行为研究》上。

The team built tiny cars out of plastic and other materials。 The vehicles had an opening at one end where electrical wires were attached。 By touching one of three different wires, the rat could steer the car in different directions - left, center and right。

该团队用塑料等材料打造了一些小车。这些小车的一端是有开口的,开口这端附了电线。通过触碰3根电线中的某一条,鼠类就能主导小车开往不同的方向——左侧、中间、右侧。

Sweet treats were placed inside the experiment containers in an attempt to get the rats to drive the vehicle to get to the food。

甜美的糖果放在了几个实验容器里,目的是吸引鼠类通过驾车来获得食物。

Researchers trained 17 rats over several months to drive around the containers。 The animals proved that they could be trained to drive forward as well as in other directions to get to the treats。

在长达数月的时间里,研究人员培训17只小鼠如何在容器附近开车。小鼠的表现表明,小鼠可以通过培训来学会向前方或者其他方向开车来获得奖励。

Kelly Lambert of the University of Richmond helped lead the experiment。 She told the French news agency AFP the research suggests that rat brains may be more complex and flexible than once thought。

幸运飞艇微信红包群里士满大学的凯丽·兰伯特助力牵头了这项实验。她在接受法新社采访时表示,该研究表明,鼠类的大脑可能比我们之前想的要更复杂、更灵活。

Lambert said she had long been interested in neuroplasticity, or the way the brain changes to react to different experiences and difficulties。 She found that rats kept in what she calls "enriched environments" performed far better than those in labs。 While she expected that result, Lambert told AFP "it was actually quite shocking to me that they were so much better。"

幸运飞艇微信红包群兰伯特表示,她一直对神经可塑性——即大脑对不同的经历和困难做出反应的方式很感兴趣。她发现,被她称为“充实环境”下的老鼠的表现远远好于实验室的老鼠。兰伯特告诉法新社记者,尽管她预料到会有这样的结果,但“它们的成绩好这么多,还是让我很震惊。”

The researchers examined levels of two hormones in the rats - one that causes stress and another that counters it。 All rats that took part in the training had higher levels of the hormone that reduces stress。 The research suggests the increased relaxation levels could be linked to the enjoyment of successfully completing a new skill。

研究人员检测了老鼠体内两种激素的水平——一种激素会引起压力,另一种激素会对抗压力。所有参加训练的老鼠(体内)所含有的减压方面的荷尔蒙水平都更高。研究表明,放松程度(减压程度)的增强可能与成功完成一项新技能所带来的愉悦感有关。

The team also found that the rats that drove themselves showed higher levels of the stress-fighting hormone than those that simply rode in small cars controlled by humans.

研究小组还发现,自己开车的老鼠体内的抗压激素水平要高于那些仅仅乘坐由人类控制的小车的老鼠。

Lambert said the most exciting result of the experiment for her was about the possible effect on humans. The research may open new areas of non-drug treatments for people suffering from mental health conditions.

兰伯特说,对她来说,这个实验最令人兴奋的结果是它可能对人类产生的影响。这项研究可能为患有精神疾病的人开辟非药物治疗的新领域。

There's no cure for schizophrenia or depression and we need to catch up, she said。 "And I think we need to look at different animal models and different types of tasks and really respect that behavior can change our neurochemistry。"

“精神分裂症和抑郁症没有治愈的方法,我们需要迎头赶上,”她说。“我认为我们需要研究不同的动物模型和不同类型的任务,并真正尊重这种行为可以改变我们的神经化学。”

Speaking to the British-based magazine New Scientist, Lambert said her team is planning to continue experiments to learn more about how the rats learned to drive. The new research will also examine why some activities appear to reduce stress, and which areas of the brain are involved in the process.

在接受英国杂志《新科学家》采访时,兰伯特表示,她的团队计划继续实验,以了解更多关于老鼠如何学会开车的信息。这项新研究还将研究为什么某些活动似乎能减轻压力,以及大脑的哪些区域参与了这一过程。

As an example, Lambert said new driving tests could be created to test the effects of Parkinson's disease on motor skills and awareness of space。 "If we use more realistic and challenging models, it may provide more meaningful data," she told New Scientist。

兰伯特说了一个例子——发起驾车的新实验是为了测试帕金森这种病对动作技能以及空间意识的影响。如果我们使用更逼真、更具挑战性的模型,或许就能提供更有意义的数据,她在接受《新科学家》采访时如是说道。

I'm Bryan Lynn.

布莱恩·林恩为您播报。

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