On the empathy of rats

I am fascinated by empathy, so I was interested to read about these experiments done some time ago concerning empathy and rats:

  1.  helping your fellow rat rodents show empathy driven behavior
  2. social experience leads empathetic pro social behavior rats

I highly recommend them if you are interested in the topic. Thoughts I had after reading them:

  • The experiments do well to show that empathy is not a quality limited to humans. But of course it makes sense it is a quality that many species should have. After all, empathy is a very good way to help everything survive. It’s not surprising, therefore, that other mammals have it.
  • There is more to survival than eating. Rats in these experiments chose to be helpful over eating chocolate. Many humans I know of could learn something from these rats.
  • Empathy does not seem to be something distributed willy nilly. There is some selectivity when it comes to empathy in the rats, just like there is between humans. That also makes sense.
  • We know so little of the world, never mind ourselves.

Good experiments. Good reads.


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