A neuroscientist burrows down deep into the lives of rats and emerges with clues to model human behavior.
The most successful mammals on the planet have already contributed much to the field of scientific research, but Lambert insists that there’s still plenty to learn from them. In this jauntily written examination of the lives of the lowly lab rat, she suggests that we would do well to emulate the prodigious achievements of our mammalian cousins—and the first steps just might be to fire the maid, ditch the Lexus and start getting our hands dirty. Rats, Lambert writes, are blue-collar creatures who owe much of their happiness to an unambiguous work ethic. Deprived of this, they soon begin to exhibit the same tell-tale signs of anxiety, frustration and depression now afflicting so many among our cushy Western culture. Unlike humans, however, the rats studied here are more likely to beat the blues with a spin on the exercise wheel than by downing a synthetic drug. It’s a radical prescription, indeed, with potentially far-reaching effects on how we live, work and play. Wrinkle your nose if you must, but the “whisker wisdom” these rodents display in their quest for survival is tough to dismiss. If the author is right, the caged lab rat could provide humans with the means of escaping the workaday prisons so many currently inhabit.
Built on solid scientific research, a rodent tale both fascinating and entertaining.