Because of the many muscles that are present in our face, humans are capable of showing a really wide slew of facial expressions, whether it means pouting, smiling or showing disgust at something. Now, thanks to a new research, experts are able to find mice that can do so as well.
Mouse Facial Expressions
“Mice exhibit facial expressions that are specific to the underlying emotions,” Dr. Nadine Gogolla, co-author of the research from Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, said. Per Gogolla, these findings are important because they offer researchers with a new way to measure emotional responses and just how intense they can be. From there, researchers can then probe how these same emotions arise from the brain and how they are able to express them with their faces.
And of course, the research also shows that mice also have a lot of emotions.
With their findings published in the journal Science, Gogolla and her colleagues reported that they were able to find these emotions by subjecting the mice to a variety of triggers, such as lithium chloride injections, sweet treats and electric shocks to the tail.
However, while these facial expressions were noticeable, the researchers said that anyone hoping to see a mouse smile or pout would be disappointed because the expressions appear very similar to the human eye, with very subtle differences.
These emotions were then probed further via computer vision technology, which managed to extract different features from individual images and quantify all of the differences in a set of photos that look otherwise similar to the untrained human eye.
“How do these experiences – if at all – relate to the emotional pain experienced when we are faced with loss, the pleasure we experience when we see a loved one succeed, or the sense of disgust we are overcome with when we hear about a moral transgression? It would be fascinating to see if the effects can be reliably replicated in response to social stressors and positive social stimuli in mice,” Dr. Susanne Schweizer, a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge, who was not involved in the work, said.