In a second phase, two feeders delivered a reward according to the animal’s performance. If the animal completed the task with a small error, just above 3.2 seconds, it received food in the left feeder, and in case of a larger deviation, this was delivered by the right feeder. This allowed the rats to understand that the location of their reward was based on their accuracy.

In the third stage, the rodents were given a choice between the two feeders. They received a reward for choosing a particular feeder. The scientists found that the rats chose the feeder corresponding to their temporal error. The one on the left if they completed their assigned task within 3.2 seconds, and the one on the right if they took longer.

The researchers found that, on each trial, the rats evaluated the accuracy with which they performed the task. They were even able to estimate their margin of error. Contrary to what you might think, rats are highly intelligent animals. Their good episodic memory allows them to retain multiple and distinct pieces of information from past experiences. They are even capable of solidarity and altruism, as demonstrated by two separate studies conducted by scientists in Japan and by researchers from the University of Chicago.

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