Scientists Are Building VR Worlds for Mice and Monkeys

Researchers now have the capability to build virtual reality worlds that can be inhabited by both lab animals (like rats and monkeys) and humans, allowing for a sort of cross-species brain research that’s never really been possible before, as different species are run through virtual environments in video games while scientists study brain activity. Neuroscientists often work with lab rats and other animal models to learn about the brain, but their findings aren’t always applicable to humans, explained Julio Martinez-Trujillo, who’s based at Western University’s renowned Brain and Mind Institute in London, Ontario. For one thing, humans can’t be placed in a maze like lab rats are: you’d need a space the size of an entire building, and monitoring their brain activity just wouldn’t be practical. “A challenge in neuroscience…

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