Return Home

The Rat Tickler

Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 12:01 AM

Jaak Panksepp tickles a rat. A behind-the-scenes moment from our Laughter episode.


More in:

Comments [8]

Dan Mabbutt from Salt Lake City, Utah

A small part of your program suggested that pigeons don't have much of an emotional life. I don't know about pigeons in general, but I do know about one and you are sooooo wrong.

My wife brought Pawchum home from work one day. We have always taken in strays and this was just one more. We kept Pawchum in the house with us and she (She laid eggs ... I know it was a she.) quickly formed an attachment to me that I will always remember. When we had a quick toast and coffee breakfast in the morning, Pawchum would land right in the middle of my paper, squat down a bit and spread her wings slightly, and demand to get her loves before she would let me read the paper. Picking her up and moving her to a perch somewhere did no good. She was back in a few seconds. I had to pet her and tickle her under the wings for a minute or so before she would let me read my paper. She was always good for a little heavy petting, but she needed it in the morning.

Sep. 20 2014 06:42 PM
Patrick from PT from Port Townsend, WA

Panksepp has so much more to say. Get

The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)

from your library.

We are them.

Sep. 20 2014 01:34 AM
star from ny from ny

this is so fascinating. my husband and i experienced this kind of laughter/crying episode together in our late 30's. it happened the night we brought our baby home after years of infertility, trying to conceive, and our first successful ivf attempt. we were lying in bed and started crying, overwhelmed with gratitude and the realization that our dream of having a child had finally come true. we began to laugh - i think my husband started, and then i followed suit, and soon we were both laughing hysterically - in a manner we never had, to that unusual degree. in between laughing, we mused over what it must sound like outside, if anyone passed by, to hear our cackling, and laughed harder and harder, tears spilling out of our eyes and out of breath. it was literally as if all the years of pent up emotions came spilling out in this joy and hysteria. i'd heard about "holy laughter" and remember thinking this was a form of it. when i heard your program, i had to share my story. to me, it's understandable. i believe it's a release of stress - those tanzanian schoolgirls had it, and the people in general experienced a significant change in their government.
p.s. i rue the day i found out about radio lab (sunday, in my car!), because ever since i have spent probably 8 hours in total here, frittering away my time! i'm a sucker for science and human interest stories. thanks. a lot.

May. 05 2014 12:16 PM
Lynne from Nebraska

Regarding laughter as a social phenomenon and the notion that it only happens as a social event: what about laughter in a dream? I have also had the experience of dream laughter that has awakened me. Is this a social event?

Apr. 13 2013 03:22 PM
roxy from NYC

Maybe b/c I love animals but I think this is one of the coolest shows you've done! I say this every week but this is one of the coolest shows I've heard from Radio Lab. Thank you guys for enlightening me on a weekly basis!!!!

Apr. 13 2013 12:15 PM

This is so cool! I have pet rats and I can imagine them laughing. They get very excited when you tickle or box with them. I wonder how loud their sounds are because you can't hear them normally unless their in pain when they squeak.

Apr. 13 2013 09:23 AM
Melissa from California

I've laughed so hard in a dream that the noise woke me up. I'll never forget that dream and when I remember it, it still makes me smile.

Apr. 12 2013 12:25 PM
Oliver from NJ

The "rat tickler" experiment is very innovative and quite convincing! Sometimes when I am alone and sink myself into some funny memories, I can still giggle, well, not laugh exactly. One more interesting question: I dream of me laughing very hard during sleep occasionally, I wonder is that laugh observable by other people or merely a mental activity in my dream?

Apr. 11 2013 09:52 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Supported by