Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Watch: Bill Paxton Swears He's 'Not a Nice Guy' (Yeah, right...), Plus the Young Stars of Mean Dreams Talk About Their Big Breaks
- Read the Cover Story: Céline Dion: 'I Lost the Love of My Life'
- Are Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd Expecting Their First Child?
- WATCH: Blake Shelton Tries Sushi for the First Time and It's Hilarious
- FROM EW Jay Z Mentions Beyoncé's Lemonade on New 'All the Way Up' Remix
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- June 15, 1998
- Vol. 49
- No. 23
It's No Tale—scientist Jaak Panksepp Can Hear Rats Laugh
Dr. Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist at Ohio's Bowling Green State University, has discovered that rats in his lab respond to certain stimuli (tickling and tummy-scratching mainly) by—yes—laughing. Of course, rat laughter isn't your basic, from-the-belly guffaw. "It's more like a chirp," says Panksepp, 55, a native of Estonia and a leading researcher in brain biochemistry.
Panksepp first heard the sound of rat laughter last year when Brian Knutson, 31, a postdoctoral student, recorded the rodents with an instrument that detects high-pitched noises. Played back, the pips, inaudible to the human ear, made the lab sound "like a playground," says Panksepp. "I don't think anyone would say it's chuckling, but it has the same dynamic, repeated feel. It starts to sound pretty happy."
Since mentioning his discovery in April during a presentation, he has been deluged with e-mail and phone calls: "I've had calls from people who have rats as pets who said, 'We knew this was happening!' " So what does all this mean? Panksepp says his findings could help scientists learn which brain systems regulate happiness, perhaps leading to better antidepressants.
The big question, though, remains: Are the rats laughing with the scientists—or at them? Obviously, more research is needed.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!