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Article

Relaying Aversive Ultrasonic Alarm Calls Depends on Previous Experience. Empathy, Social Buffering, or Panic?

1
Laboratory of Spatial Memory, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences, 3 Pasteur Street, 02-093 Warsaw, Poland
2
Laboratory of Emotions Neurobiology, BRAINCITY—Centre of Excellence for Neural Plasticity and Brain Disorders, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences, 3 Pasteur Street, 02-093 Warsaw, Poland
3
Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling, University of Warsaw, Pawinskiego 5A, 02-106 Warsaw, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Stefan M. Brudzynski and Anne-Marie Mouly
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(6), 759; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11060759
Received: 30 April 2021 / Revised: 27 May 2021 / Accepted: 1 June 2021 / Published: 8 June 2021
Ultrasonic vocalizations are among the oldest evolutionarily forms of animal communication. In order to study the communication patterns in an aversive social situation, we used a behavioral model in which one animal, the observer, is witnessing as his cagemate, the demonstrator, is experiencing a series of mild electrical foot shocks. We studied the effect of the foot shock experience on the observer and the influence of a warning sound (emitted shortly before the shock) on USV communication. These experiments revealed that such a warning seems to increase the arousal level, which differentiates the responses depending on previous experience. This can be identified by the emission of characteristic, short 22 kHz calls of a duration below 100 ms. Two rats emitted calls that overlapped in time. Analysis of these overlaps revealed that in ‘warned’ pairs with a naive observer, 22 kHz calls were mixed with 50 kHz calls. This fact, combined with a high fraction of very high-pitched 50 kHz calls (over 75 kHz), suggests the presence of the phenomenon of social buffering. Pure 22 kHz overlaps were mostly found in ‘warned’ pairs with an experienced observer, suggesting a possible fear contagion with distress sharing. The results show the importance of dividing 22 kHz calls into long and short categories. View Full-Text
Keywords: ultrasonic vocalization; social buffering; 50 kHz calls; 22 kHz calls; distress; emotional contagion; fear contagion; aversive state; communication ultrasonic vocalization; social buffering; 50 kHz calls; 22 kHz calls; distress; emotional contagion; fear contagion; aversive state; communication
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MDPI and ACS Style

Karwicka, W.; Wiatrowska, M.; Kondrakiewicz, K.; Knapska, E.; Kursa, M.B.; Hamed, A. Relaying Aversive Ultrasonic Alarm Calls Depends on Previous Experience. Empathy, Social Buffering, or Panic? Brain Sci. 2021, 11, 759. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11060759

AMA Style

Karwicka W, Wiatrowska M, Kondrakiewicz K, Knapska E, Kursa MB, Hamed A. Relaying Aversive Ultrasonic Alarm Calls Depends on Previous Experience. Empathy, Social Buffering, or Panic? Brain Sciences. 2021; 11(6):759. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11060759

Chicago/Turabian Style

Karwicka, Wiktoria, Marta Wiatrowska, Kacper Kondrakiewicz, Ewelina Knapska, Miron B. Kursa, and Adam Hamed. 2021. "Relaying Aversive Ultrasonic Alarm Calls Depends on Previous Experience. Empathy, Social Buffering, or Panic?" Brain Sciences 11, no. 6: 759. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11060759

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