Scents and sensibility

1 06 2015

IMAG0550[1]Stephen is now the proud owner of 20 tea infusers. Why? (I forgot to ask him if they asked that at the shop). Well, we have a long history of running experiments using dollar store items. But in this case he wants to replicate Laura’s experiment, and the mice are so very ancient now, we are worried they might be anosmic. To test them for this, we’re going to try a simple habituation-dishabituation test (a clever way of distinguishing what they like from what they can detect).

Each cage will get two dispensers placed in their food hopper, both pre-filled with one of the types of herb-flavoured food we want to use in the social learning tests: either turmeric or thyme.

After a few days, we will refill both balls with new herb-flavoured food, but this time the flavour in one will be changed: if it was thymey before, it’ll now smell of turmeric and vice versa. If the mice can smell the difference, they should be wildly interested in the new smell. If they can’t, both tea infusers should attract the same attention, and we’ll know doing any more work is likely pointless.