Studies Show Animals ‘Sync’ During Social Interactions, Just like Humans

Two new studies on Egyptian fruit bats and regular mice, show that animals also create a connection on a mental basis just like humans do.
Irmak Bayrakdar

We already knew, using fMRI and EEG that when humans engage in social encounters they tend to sync up, copying mimics and emotions. Research suggests that when there is social interaction, animals' neurons sync up in a very human way as well.

First of the studies concerning fruit bats, is led by Michael Yartsev of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, who states that bats are social animals and studying them can unlock many mysteries on the socially stimulating parts of the brain we do not have much information on, at least when it comes to animals.

The team of researchers studied bats in their natural state during their daily activities such as eating, fighting, grooming, and mating for over 100 minutes per bat. Scientists used special equipments called wireless electrophysiology in order to monitor neural activity in bats.

After seeing that a number of different bats are in a neural connection while doing the same activity, it was easy for the team to assume that they possess a likeness to that of humans when it comes to socializing. 

Studies Show Animals ‘Sync’ During Social Interactions, Just like Humans
Source: Unsplash

The other study is focused on mice and is led by a team of scientists from UCLA. The team was monitoring brain activities and used a different device that allows them to track hundreds of neural activities on the mice. They decided to use something called miniaturized microendoscope and placed it on the mice.

The mice then started showing signs of neural connection as well. The social connection between mice seems very similar to that of humans and thus they also seem to have dominance within society and hierarchy and even competition. 


Head author of the research study on mice Weizhe Hong of the Departments of Biological Chemistry and Neurobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, states that, if the mind is like a black box, then trying to understand multiple animals' connecting mentally while performing their social activities is like trying to figure out two black boxes receiving and sending inputs and outputs, which is way harder than most studies. 


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