In this paper, we study the behavioral response of rats to a robotic rat during multi-rat interaction. Experiments are conducted in an open-field where a robotic rat called WR-5 is put together with three laboratory rats. WR-5 is following one rat (target), while avoiding the other two rats (outside observers) during interaction. The behavioral characteristics of each target rat is evaluated by scoring its locomotor activity and frequencies of performing rearing, body grooming and mounting actions. Additionally, the frequency of being mounted by other rats is also measured. Experimental results show that the target becomes more active after interaction. The rat species, with more active behavioral characteristics, is more susceptible to being adjusted by the robot. The increased time spent by the outside observers in the vicinity of the robot indicates that a biomimetic robot has the promise for modulating rat behavior even without direct interaction. Thus, this study provide a novel approach to shaping the sociality of animals living in groups.
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