Like tiny, hairy Yodas raising X-wings from a swamp, rats can lift digital cubes and drop them near a target. But these rats aren’t using the Force. Instead, they are using their imagination.

This telekinetic trick, described in the Nov. 3 Science, provides hints about how brains imagine new scenarios and remember past ones.

“This is fantastic research,” says Mayank Mehta, a neurophysicist at UCLA. “It opens up a lot of exciting possibilities.” A deeper scientific understanding of the brain area involved in the feat could, for instance, help researchers diagnose and treat memory disorders, he says.

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