Seeing Stress Means Feeling Stress

More on why coercion in animal training just doesn’t make for a highly conductive learning experience.

Science and Dogs

Cover - Seeing Stress S0006322311X00471_cov200h

Humans don’t have to directly experience trauma to be deeply affected; seeing someone else go through a distressing event can often be equally stressful. The vicarious experience is often sufficiently stressful to produce negative long-term effects resulting in PTSD, depression and other mood disorders.  For humans, seeing stress is often the same as feeling stress.

To study the biological basis of vicariously acquired stress disorders in humans we need a good animal model but our models are based on physical stress. The first question then becomes, is there an analogous response to vicarious stress in animals. To answer the question researchers subjected a group of mice to the physical stress of social defeat while another group witnessed it.

One group of mice were put in the same cage with a larger (40g vs 28g) aggressive mouse (CD-1) and the smaller mouse was subjected to physical stress (PS) via social…

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