Mice have always been the go-to creature for human testing. They share a lot of the same traits as humans, when it comes to brain function; which is kind of shocking, to say the least. This story is something straight out of a movie, and you would never believe that it’s actually happening in real life. As of recent, scientists have been able to change mice that were initially shy and low-ranking, into dominant alphas. If this research is correct, it means that we could be on the brink of creating a new breed of “supermice” – and if we wanted to go above and beyond that, super humans as well.
The way they went about boosting the confidence/dominant traits of the mice, was through the “effortful” functions in the brain. They were able to get mice to apply themselves more and work harder, thus, resulting in a much more confident outcome. Mice themselves are a very social breed, and they rely on a pecking order to keep things organized. At times, this can be expressed in very aggressive behavior – Zhou Tingting, who is a neuroscientist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was joined alongside his colleagues to go through with the testing. They used a tube test method, which is where there isn’t enough space for the mice to be passing each other within a tube. This forces them to resort to their pecking order, allowing the aggressive (and more dominant mice) to work their way through. The ones that are willing to shove and make room for their escape, are going to be deemed as the “leaders”. The winner isn’t always stronger, he’s just more aggressive and persistent with his actions. The winning mice were recorded as having a much longer push period, as well as just a stronger will in general. The researchers were also able to discover that the winning mice showed an excessive amount of “effortful behavior”, as well as social leadership. If a mice had low dmPFC numbers during the tube test, they always lost – I guess the phrase “numbers never lie” would apply here!
This lead the researchers to wonder if they could create winning mice by working on their dmPFC numbers. Using a process known as “optogenetics”, the scientists were able to create mice that were much more prone to being dominant. They won almost every single content that they were put into; which shows promising results. At this rate, it could be a new PED to worry about. Sports will always be the sort of platform that relies on things of this nature. We’re always striving to make improvements, regardless of where these improvements happen to be applied.