Ever wondered what would happen if you tickled rats… for science? Scientists at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlinwondered the same thing, and now, thanks to National Geographic, youcan check out what happens in their latest video.

And if we can learn anything from the videos, it’s that a lot can happen when you tickle animals in the name of science.

According to NatGeo, these scientists have worked to figure out the exact area in rats’ brains where ticklishness comes from. Once they were able to explore this reaction in the brain, researchers also found that the success of tickling depends on the rats’ moods.

Unlike other animals, rats don’t respond to the tickling unless they’re truly happy.

So how exactly do you tickle a rat? NatGeo explains that researchers switched between “gentle caresses” and a rougher touch. They occasionally positioned the rats belly up so they could get in some good tummy tickles. “To hear their chuckles,” NatGeo continues, “the scientists set up a device capable of capturing high frequencies, since rats emit laughter (or ‘ultrasonic vocalizations’) at levels above our range of hearing.”


Tickling is more serious than you think — take science into account the next time you want to make somebody laugh!