Mice Don't Like Cheese

File this one under, "Who the heck pays for this kind of research?" Reports are flooding in that a group of researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University have published a new study showing that mice prefer foods high in sugar like fruits and cereals, and would not be enticed by a block of cheese.

Dr. David Holmes, an animal behaviorist and head of the research team, claims that mice "respond to the smell, texture and taste of food and cheese is something that would not be available to them in their natural environment and therefore not something that they would respond to." How many research dollars (or pounds) were spent supporting this hypothesis? Actually, it turns out that the people who paid for this research are the same mad geniuses behind both Stilton-scented perfume and Stilton-flavored ice cream.

As silly as it is, though, the research did get me thinking about the origins of this myth. Why do cheese and mice have such a strong cultural association? I always picture mice looking for cheese in a maze, but I have no idea where this image comes from either. In a quick Google search I couldn't find any background on it. Anyone out there have any ideas where this myth might have originated?