Mice Prefer Action Movies to Porn, Study Suggests


Mice may prefer watching mouse-action movies to mouse-pornography, according to a team of Japanese researchers. Led by Shigeru Watanabe of Keio University, the team played videos for mice on iPods and noted how long the mice paid attention.

The subjects were shown three different videos: one was sniffing related, another pornographic (for a mouse), and another action-oriented—depicting two mice fighting each other.

New Scientist reports the results:

“The mice were least interested in the sniffing video. Given a choice between sniffing and copulation clips, 65 per cent of the mice spent more time watching copulation. The average mouse spent 41 per cent of the time in the copulation clips compartment, and 34 per cent in the other one. But the fighting video was the favourite. Given a choice of that and watching copulation, the mice spent an average of 40 per cent of their time in the fighting compartment, and 35 per cent in the copulation compartment. The results may reflect which videos the mice find most socially informative. The fight scene might have been the most interesting as it revealed information about dominance relationships, the team concludes.”

Interesting, indeed. But not everyone is convinced. Barbara König of the University of Zurich says she’s not so sure the mice chose to watch the fighting video longer because it’s more socially informative.

“House mice mainly use their senses of hearing and smell to interpret the world, so the fact that they can distinguish between silent videos of fighting and copulation is interesting. There is a debate over whether time spent with a specific cue is a good proxy for preference. Mice might just need longer to gain information on whether the objects signal any kind of danger.”


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Timothy Bertrand
Writer and journalist living in the Houston, Texas area. Follow me for breaking news, editorials, pictures of cats doing human activities, and other such content from around the web.

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