Octopus’s display Prosocial Behavior under the Influence of MDMA

23 September, 2018, 03:39 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Octopuses given ecstasy by scientists become more friendly and sociable study finds

Seven octopuses received MDMA inside laboratory tanks. As you may probably know, octopuses are usually solitary, however, during this experiment, thanks to the drugs that they were "administered", they became very cuddly with the other octopus that was in a cage.

"My lab has been studying MDMA for a long time, and we have worked out a lot of neural mechanisms that enable MDMA to have these really, really profound pro-social effects", she said.

An analysis showed that octopuses became distinctly more sociable when exposed to MDMA, which according to researchers indicates an evolutionary link between social behaviours of the eight-limbed molluscs and humans. "They were just taking these postures of super hypervigilance". They floated around, they wrapped their arms around the chamber, and they interacted with the other octopus in a much more fluid and generous way. After the drug was absorbed, the creatures were placed in a chamber with several compartments, all but one were empty. What sounds like the premise of a children's book set at Burning Man is, in fact, the conclusion of a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

Until now, most research into human social behavior has been based on our complex circuitry, but these new findings suggest that examining basic brain chemistry could be more significant than previously thought, and could lead to a deeper understanding of how serotonin impacts social interaction.

The data obtained allowed to conclude that in the body of the octopus there is the plot, which is responsible for part serotonergic system in the regulation of social behavior.

Still, he thinks it's wonderful that this drug has somewhat similar behavioral effects.

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Other researchers have raised questions about the study's methodology, however.

"I have to admit that it was totally trial and error". By comparing the genomes of those species, they hope to gain more insight into the evolution of social behavior.

One octopus was doing back flips, according to Dr Dolen, who said that some of the behaviours were so odd the research team couldn't quantify them.

"It's not just quantitatively more time, but qualitative". When it comes to the furry character from Star Wars, it seems that the octopuses only spent some time with Chewbacca throughout the control test, when they were not on drugs. This same mechanism is how MDMA binds to neurons and alters humans' mental states, so they chose to see how it would impact octopuses.

DOLEN: Whereas after MDMA, they were essentially hugging the flower pot that had the other octopus in it. "Even during mating the male will just leave his sperm and depart as quickly as possible, because if he sticks around she'll attack him", said Dölen.

"They have this huge complex brain that they've built, that has absolutely no business acting like ours does - but here they show that it does", said Pungor.

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