Nencki Institute Seminar

Dear All

I would like to warmly invite you to our next Nencki Institute Seminar on the 11th of January at 3pm in the CN lecture hall. We will host Prof. Ewelina Knapska (Laboratory of Emotions Neurobiology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, PAS). Prof. Knapska's lecture will be entitled: "Do rats catch our emotions?"



Reading danger signals may save an animal's life, and learning about threats from others allows avoiding first-hand aversive and often fatal experiences. Fear expressed by other individuals, including those belonging to other species, may indicate the presence of a threat in the environment and is an important social cue. We showed that humans and other animals respond to conspecifics' fear with increased activity of the amygdala, the brain structure crucial for detecting threats and mounting an appropriate response to them. Further, we showed that the cross-species transmission of threat information involves similar mechanisms, i.e., animals respond to the aversively induced emotional arousal of humans with activation of fear-processing circuits in the brain. The amygdala response involves its two major parts, the basolateral and central, which detect a threat and orchestrate defensive responses. Our results demonstrate that rats detect the emotional arousal of recently aversively stimulated caregivers and suggest that cross-species social transmission of threat information may involve similar neural circuits in the amygdala as the within-species transmission.


The lecture will be followed by a get together.

With best wishes
Tomasz Wypych

Date of publication
5 January 2024
Date of event
Nencki Institute