Feb 19, 2016 I Paul Seaburn

Virgin Male Mice Prefer Violent Videos to Sex Videos

Two recent studies looked at violent behavior in male mice. One found that virgin male mice prefer to watch violent videos instead of ones showing sex while the other found the part of the male mouse brain that controls rage and the switch that turns it on and off. This may not be something the male mice should include in their MouseMatch.com dating profiles.

The current edition of Animal Cognition describes various behavioral experiments conducted on common house mice by three researchers in Japan. Two in particular involved virgin male mice. In the first, a group of virgin male mice were show three videos on a smartphone of mice fighting, sniffing or having sex. The mice were then placed in cages where they could select their own video and the violent video was their favorite, followed by sex and then sniffing (violence, sex and sniffing – sounds like a typical session of Netflix and cuddling). In the second experiment, half the mice were given a morphine injection before having to choose and the result was that they didn’t care what was playing. Did they really need a test for this?

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Don't ask me ... I'm not a virgin

Fortunately for those who fear that the virgin male mouse in their pantry may come after them with a knife, this propensity towards violence and incidents of rage has an on-off switch in their little brains. According to a new study published in Current Biology, researchers at New York University found that male mice (both virgins and non-virgins) have a brain structure called the lateral septum that acts as a gatekeeper for electrical signals controlling emotions, aggression and hormone production. Damage to the lateral septum (due to fighting, accidents or probing scientists) causes “septal rage” which results in sudden mouse-on-mouse violence.

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Where's my septum?

As it seems with all mouse experiments, the scientists also watched the sexual behavior of male mice with damaged or manipulated lateral septums and found that it had no effect on their sex lives.

The researchers at NYU are now looking at which specific cells in the lateral septum control male aggression and how they act as a throttle without affecting other behavior. It’s hoped this will help find similar throttles for male human violence – virgin or otherwise.

Meanwhile, there’s a long line of female mice outside the cage offering morphine and sex videos.


Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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