Inside the world of rodent chatter

January 4, 2019

Inside the world of rodent chatter

Many researchers realize that mice and rats are social and chatty. They spend all day talking to each other, but  what  are they really saying? Not only are many rodent vocalizations unable to be heard by humans, but existing computer programs to detect these vocalizations are flawed. 

Two scientists at the University of Washington School of Medicine developed a software program called DeepSqueak, which surpasses technological barriers and discovers the rich world of rodent chatter. So what did they find? Rodents have a rich repertoire of calls, around 20 kinds. When male mice are together, they make the same calls over and over. But when they sense a female mouse nearby, they break out into song.

Their program was published Jan. 4 in Neuropsychopharmacology.

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