The Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory is located on the 3rd floor of the Science Center. It provides a wide range of research opportunities for students who want to study the brain mechanisms of behavior. The primary focus of the lab is to study the neurobiology of play behavior in rats, although we also dabble into other areas of research as well and provide many opportunities for students to become actively involved in this research program.
Why study play? And why study play in rats? Almost all mammals play. It doesn't seem to matter if you're a rat, dog, or human; there's something simply irresistible about a good bout of raucous social play. What makes mammals so playful? Are we genetically pre-programmed to have fun? Can early postnatal experiences influence how much we play? What kind of processing goes on in the brain that can make one youngster more, or less, playful than another? Using the young rat as a model system for studying rough-and-tumble play, work in the lab addresses questions such as these.
Some of the more recent publications from the lab are listed below: