About the Social Rodent Lab

Welcome to the Social Rodent Lab!
Though “being a rat” has a negative meaning in everyday conversation, rats are actually a highly social species. At the Social Rodent Lab, we study the (pro-) social behavior of rodents to understand how these animals make decisions that affects their social interaction partners. The Social Rodent Lab is hosted at the Heinrich-Heine University in Duesseldorf, Germany.

The Social Rodent Lab studies social valuation in rodents using a range of behavioral paradigms. The lab combines neuroeconomic analysis of choice behavior with neurobiological or pharmacological manipulations and the recording of ultrasonic vocalizations. Furthermore, the Social Rodent Lab specializes in recording the electrophysiological signals at the single unit and network level from behaving rodents.

We believe that studying animals can tell us a lot about the evolutionary origins of social behavior and the way individuals interact. If we want to understand how typically 'human' tendencies such as trust, fairness and altruism came to be, and what brain activity and networks are responsible for these behaviors, developing good animal models is essential to ultimately understand the why and how of social interactions.

Winding down the lab

The grant that powered the Social Rodent Lab (Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation) has run out in 2020.
  • Dr. Sander van Gurp has successfully defended his PhD and is now at the Comparative Psychology department
  • Douman Seidisarouei is working on his dissertation
  • Dr. Marijn van Wingerden is now at Tilburg University  (https://research.tilburguniversity.edu/en/persons/marijn-van-wingerden)