Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

Mouse Grimace Scale

Susan Notes:

I'm not a mouse fan, but think about the science of deliberately inflicting pain on mice to see what kind of expressions they make.

What follows shows why writing The Eggplant is so difficult. This looks like an Eggplant item but. . . since it comes from the journal Nature Methods. . . .

There are 19 researchers listed on this paper described below, "Coding of facial expressions of pain in the laboratory mouse." Recognizing that "Facial expression is widely used as a measure of pain in infants," they developed a mouse grimace scale (MGS)

The researchers come from the following universities:
1. Department of Psychology and Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
2. Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
3. Department of Human Genetics, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands.
4. Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Clearly, this is another example of US decline in science.

Suggestion for literacy researchers: How about quantifying kindergartners' facial expressions when subjected to DIBELS testing, 3rd graders' grimaces when filling in McGraw-Hill bubbles, and so on?

Clearly, we need a KGS (kindergartner grimace scale.

And can't you just see the graph of, say, cheek bulging?

by Schott's Vocab

A method of grading murine response to pain.

Scientists have discovered that mice produce "human-like facial expressions" when in pain, Hannah Devlin reported in The Times of London:

The Canadian team behind the investigation produced what has been dubbed the "mouse grimace scale," which they say could help prevent suffering in lab mice.

But the study itself involved inflicting severe discomfort on the mice, and has outraged anti-vivisectionists. They claim that rather than being used to minimise suffering, the scale is simply a new way of measuring pain responses to different stimuli.

Five "pain faces" were identified in the study, published on Monday in the journal Nature Methods: eye squeezing, nose bulging, cheek bulging, ears drawn apart and whiskers standing on end.

The eye squeezing, nose bulging and cheek bulging were "identical to those observed in humans."

What kinds of pain were inflicted on the humans? Did they use third graders?

— Schott's Vocab
New York Times


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.