Rat reflections give pause for thought

Rats may have a sense of self

source: Jessica Hamzelou
New Scientist vol 212 no 2833, October 8 2011 p14

Rats and monkeys have a similar structural network in their brains as that used by humans for introspection. There are some ten networks active when humans are resting, and one is called the default mode network or DMN. It is only active when humans allow their minds to wander, and it is suppressed during the performance of external tasks. The network relates to consciousness, though may be be responsible for being conscious. It may help to consolidate memories through self-reflection. Connectivity between the DMN and memory areas can be boosted through tasks involving memory retrieval. Both monkeys and rats may possess a sense of self, though it is likely to differ from that of humans.