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Menage A Mouse

BILL KURTIS, BYLINE: Today, we're welcoming the cooler temperatures because it's important to be optimistic in the face of the soul-killing winter ahead.



And as we reported in the summer of 2014, even laboratory mice sometimes have reasons to be happy.


SAGAL: Roy, scientists reported this week in an interesting memory experiment in which they were able to use a laser to replace bad memories in mice with good memories.

ROY BLOUNT JR.: And mice have lots of bad memories.

SAGAL: Oh, they do. It's something (unintelligible).


SAGAL: Now, put that aside.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: (Speaking in high-pitched voice) Remember the time...

SAGAL: But how the laser...

ADAM FELBER: (Speaking in high-pitched voice) I can't go back there, man.


FELBER: (Speaking in high-pitched voice) Right turn, left turn, right turn, left turn. Oh, my God. Where's my cheese?


FELBER: (Speaking in high-pitched voice) Just give me the cheese.


SAGAL: Now, what I want you to do is I want you to forget about the bit about changing good memories into bad with the laser. We don't know what that was about and maybe it'll be useful someday. What we're interested in is how - 'cause they needed to do this experiment and they needed to give the mice a bad memory, which they did with electric shock - but they needed to also create a good memory for the mouse to conduct these experiments. And they gave each of the male mice what?


BLOUNT: A memory of a female mouse.

SAGAL: Well, I'll give you a hint. It's sort of like a mice-age (ph) a trois.


BLOUNT: Two - a memory of doing it with two female mice?

SAGAL: Yeah, they basically...


SAGAL: They basically, in order to give these mice good memories that they could then experiment with, they gave the mice threesomes.



FELBER: (Speaking in high-pitched voice) It's always been a fantasy of mine.


FELBER: (Speaking in high-pitched voice) Never said it out loud, it's like these guys know me.


SAGAL: So what we imagine is like...

FELBER: (Speaking in high-pitched voice) I'll be right back.

SAGAL: It's like the scientists are sitting around, right, and they're thinking about what would give a mouse a good memory? And just, you know, as one of the scientists was about to say, well, we could go with cheese, another scientist shouts out threesome.


SAGAL: Threesome.

POUNDSTONE: One scientist said how about fishing with their dad?

BLOUNT: And the mice all said (speaking in high-pitched voice) no, no, no.

SAGAL: (Speaking in high-pitched voice) No, no, no, no, listen to the first guy, listen to the first guy.


BLOUNT: What's the bad memory? Do we know?

SAGAL: Oh, it was the electric shock.

POUNDSTONE: You give them an electric shock.

BLOUNT: Electric shock.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, yeah. The bad memory was being on a wheel while the guy with the threesome was in the other tank.


SAGAL: Trying to get over there to join in. You don't get anywhere.

POUNDSTONE: (Speaking in high-pitched voice) I feel like I'm getting closer. This thing's coming off the hinge.


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WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME is a production of NPR and WBEZ Chicago, in association with Urgent Haircut Productions, Doug Berman, benevolent overlord. B.J. Leiderman composed our theme. Our program was produced by Miles Dornboss. Technical direction from Lorna White. Our CFO Is Ann Nguyen. Out production coordinator is Robert Neuhaus. Our senior producer, Ian Chillag. And the executive producer of WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME is Michael Danforth.

Thanks to Bill Kurtis, all the panelists and guests you heard in our show and, of course, Carl Kasell. I'm Peter Sagal, and we will see you next week.


SAGAL: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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