Scientists Successfully Mind-Meld Two Rats

February 28, 2013 | Andy Cush

Today in frightening/awesome science news: scientists from Duke University have successfully wired together the brains of two rats, giving them the mental power to solve problems neither could tackle individually. Wirelessly, the researchers were even able to link two rats’ minds with one in North Carolina and the other in Brazil.

The scientists set up a rewards system for each animal: one was able to use its sense of touch to determine which of two buttons to push would give it a drink; the other had to choose without any sensory information. Then, researchers used specialized electrodes linked the brains of the two rats, allowing the sensory input of the first to influence the decisions of the second. Its performance drastically increased, from a 50 percent success rate to 60-70 percent. “We basically created a computational unit out of two brains,” said Miguel Nicolelis, the neuroscientist who led the study.

(Photo: sean drillinger/Flickr)