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Chimpanzees are spontaneously generous after all

Chimpanzees are spontaneously generous after all | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center have shown chimpanzees have a significant bias for prosocial behavior.

 

The authors say this study puts to rest a longstanding puzzle surrounding chimpanzee altruism. It is well-known these apes help each other in the wild and show various forms of empathy, such as reassurance of distressed parties. The negative findings of previous studies did not fit this image. These results, however, confirm chimpanzee altruism in a well-controlled experiment, suggesting human altruism is less of an anomaly than previously thought.

 

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Empathy and Animals
International News and Information about Empathy and Compassion with, by and for Animals - for more see: CultureOfEmpathy.com
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To Empathy Cafe Magazine Front Page

To Empathy Cafe Magazine Front Page | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Empathy Cafe Magazine Front Page


Visit the individual magazines specifically for empathy and;

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How watching a cute animal video makes the world a better place ...and more empathic.

How watching a cute animal video makes the world a better place ...and more empathic. | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Does owning a pet or even watching those ubiquitous YouTube animal videos make us more empathetic? Apparently so. Loving those creatures may unlock ways to make you less lonely and make the world a better place.


"Interacting with a pet can increase oxytocin, beta-endorphin and dopamine levels as well as reduce cortisol levels — powerful neurochemicals that can lower our blood pressure and make us feel happier, better and more relaxed," says Rebecca A. Johnson, a professor and director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine.


Oxytocin, often called the "love" or "trust" hormone because of the feelings it triggers when we kiss or fall in love, also promotes social bonding.


By ALENE DAWSON

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Empathic Rats: Recent research showing rodents' concern for their fellow species suggests empathy

Empathic Rats: Recent research showing rodents' concern for their fellow species suggests empathy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
For a long time, it was thought that empathy was unique to primates, or even humans. But in the past few years, several experiments seem to indicate rats and mice feel each other's pain, too.

Catching Emotions

The simplest form of empathy is known as emotional contagion. It's a phenomenon where one individual's emotions spread to other individuals nearby. For instance, if one baby in a nursery cries, it triggers the other babies in the room to cry as well. Emotional contagion allows humans and other animals to share emotional experiences, and there is strong evidence it exists in rodents.


by Mary Bates

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Move over Lassie: Tests reveal pigs can outsmart dogs and chimpanzees: also have empathy

Move over Lassie: Tests reveal pigs can outsmart dogs and chimpanzees:  also have empathy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

The study's authors say while we tend to place pigs in a lower category to animals such as dogs and cats, they are in fact, just as smart and empathic – and should be treated as such....


A study earlier this year also found pigs have empathy. Researchers in the Netherlands housed pigs in 16 groups of six, training two of the animals in each of the groups...


University of Portsmouth research has shown that orangutans can be so full of empathy that they take on the moods of others. When one orangutan laughs, others often join in. They have complex social lives, with pigs often learning from one another...


 By ELLIE ZOLFAGHARIFARD

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Yawning budgies can make other budgies yawn too, study suggests

Yawning budgies can make other budgies yawn too, study suggests | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Budgerigars, also known as parakeets, are susceptible to catching the urge to yawn from watching other budgies do it.


[What yawning bonobos can teach us about empathy]'


Some researchers, including Gallup, believe that contagious yawning behavior in different species could be connected to a primitive form of empathy.


Frans de Waal of Emory University in Georgia told the New Scientistthat "contagious yawning by itself is not exactly empathy, but it hints at the tendency to mimic and synchronize with the bodies of others" and that the "process is probably the basis of mammalian empathy."


Although Gallup's experiments don't tell us everything about the contagious yawning behavior among budgies, it has potentially interesting implications for future experiments. "Since contagious yawning may represent a primitive form of empathy,"

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Nature Behind Bars: Animal Class Helps Prisoners Find Compassion

Nature Behind Bars: Animal Class Helps Prisoners Find Compassion | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Professor Marc Bekoff teaches a popular animal behavior course at the Boulder County Jail, which has helped some inmates bond with the natural world—and ultimately reconnect to society.


How do you think the class affects them?

They get excited over the animal videos, and love talking about pets and wild animals—it softens them. It gives them the chance to discuss the importance of social relationships and compassion and empathy.


They find common ground. And it connects them to the outside world and to nature. I've had the most violent guys say what a positive effect the class had on him. One said talking about dog behavior helped him realize he needs to extend more compassion to humans. Researchers refer to animals as "social catalysts" when they help people connect and reconnect in this way.

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Rats Feel Empathy? Rodent Psychology: Study Shows Rats Will Do What it Takes to Save Their Mates

Rats Feel Empathy? Rodent Psychology: Study Shows Rats Will Do What it Takes to Save Their Mates | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Empathy is a human trait, but it isn't unique to humans. Our closest relatives, primates, will help each other out. Elephants bury their dead and giraffe moms who lost a calf are often flanked with other giraffe females during her time of grief. So, how far down the food chain does this trait go?


We prefer not to think about rats as related to us, but our common ancestor might have been around a few millions of years ago, according to the BBC. They aren't that much like us... but a new study shows that rats will save their rat buddies from drowning.

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Rats will save their friends from drowning: new finding suggests that these rodents feel empathy

Rats will save their friends from drowning: new finding suggests that these rodents feel empathy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

If one rat is drowning, another will step in to save it. The new finding suggests that these rodents feel empathy


The rats therefore engage in helpful "prosocial behaviour" even if there was no apparent reward. Saving a distressed rat was valuable to them.

Past experience played a role too. If the saviour rat had had a similar near-death experience, it was much quicker to help....


Published in the journal Animal Cognition, the research suggests that rats may have empathy, and that they recognise the suffering of others and want to alleviate it.

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Proof - Rats Have More Empathy Then the GOP

For more information on the stories we've covered visit our websites at thomhartmann.com - freespeech.org - and RT.com. You can also watch tonight's show on Hulu - at Hulu.com/THE BIG PICTURE and over at The Big Picture YouTube page. 

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Larry Glover's curator insight, May 15, 11:36 AM

Interesting reflections from Thom Hartmann on the recent rat research demonstrating capacities for 'empathy' in the little creatures. Empathetically, rats may be demonstrating more innate intelligence than certain political interests who place narrow self-interest above the wellbeing of less fortunate.

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How Showing Compassion for Animals Can Improve Your Health

How Showing Compassion for Animals Can Improve Your Health | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

The effects of compassion are far reaching and have been shown to have benefits for physical as well as psychological health. A wealth of evidence demonstrates that social support, when humans connect in a meaningful way with other people or animals, helps in the recovery from illness as well as promoting increased levels of mental and physical well-being.

Evidence from studies mentioned in the previous blog suggests that interventions can lead to reduced depressive symptoms and feelings of isolation, improvements in positive emotions, psychological well-being, hopefulness, optimism, social connection, life satisfaction, and, of specific interest to this paper –  compassion....

Cultivating compassion for all living beings and practicing a compassionate lifestyle can, therefore, help boost social connection and also improve physical and mental health. 

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Do sheep really care? Massey University study reveals feelings of empathy in sheep

Do sheep really care? Massey University study reveals feelings of empathy in sheep | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Massey University PhD student Mirjam Guesgen has spent three years studying whether sheep feel empathy. 

Guesgen said the idea of animals feeling empathy and pain was a relatively new area of research, but she was interested in the social and psychological aspects of animals.

"We can just ask someone, we look at their outward expression. 
"Why do animals show pain at all?"
And because there are routine husbandry practices involving pain, like docking, sheep were a good animal to start looking to for answers. 


THOMAS HEATON

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Kids who grow up with dogs and cats are more emotionally intelligent and compassionate

Kids who grow up with dogs and cats are more emotionally intelligent and compassionate | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
1. Compassion: According to this overview of the scientific literature by Nienke Endenburg and Ben Baarda in The Waltham Book of Human-Animal Interaction, 


"If there are pets in the house, parents and children frequently share in taking care of the pet, which suggests that youngsters learn at an early age how to care for and nurture a dependent animal." Even very young children can contribute to the care and feeding of a pet — a 3-year-old can take a bowl of food and set it on the floor for a cat, and at the same age, a child can be taught to stroke an animal nicely, maybe using the back of the hand so they don't grab the animal. Supervising kids during the first few interactions is a teaching moment.


Later, once they have learned the ropes, their memory and understanding of a life outside themselves will be stimulated each time they interact with the animals. Older kids can be responsible for walking a dog or playing with it in the yard, cleaning out a cat's litter box, or taking veggie scraps from dinner to a rabbit or hamster.


A study of 3- to 6-year-olds found that kids with pets had more empathy towards other animals and human beings, while another study found that even just having an animal in a classroom made fourth-graders more compassionate. 

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Lon Woodbury's curator insight, April 29, 11:50 PM

I have heard the claim, especially by equine therapists, that "the horse is the therapist."  I think that applies to virtually all dependent creatures that children (and adults) interact with..  I heard a cute story that dogs were sent to earth to deliver the message of peace.  The dogs ate the message, but are still trying to deliver it. :) -Lon 

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How your children can benefit from owning a pet

How your children can benefit from owning a pet | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
A dog, cat, guinea pig or iguana can be a child's best friend in ways you might not expect. Research shows how pets can benefit a child's physical and emotional well-being.


It's easy to see how pets can teach children responsibility. A child as young as 3 can be responsible for giving pets water, and older children can take on tasks like walking the dog.


"Accomplishing tasks appropriate to their age, when taking care of the pet with their parents, makes a child feel more competent," according to child development experts Nienke Endenburg and Ben Baarda.
In addition to increasing self-efficacy, having pets can develop a child's relationship skills, especially empathy, The Washington Post reported. "The reason is obvious: Caring for a pet draws a self-absorbed child away from himself or herself."


Marsha Maxwell, 

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The Science of Yawns, Dogs and Empathy

The Science of Yawns, Dogs and Empathy | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Swedish scientists show that dogs empathize with humans.

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Empathy in Rats - Animal Cognition

Empathy in Rats - Animal Cognition | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

As the go-to animal for biological and behavioral research, rats have long been the darlings of science. But only in recent years has their capacity for empathy started to get more attention.

That’s not to say that research into rat empathy hasn’t been done in the past. In 1962, scientists George E. Rice and Priscilla Gainer presented individual rats with a squeaking rat suspended in a harness. For the control condition, they presented the rats with a Styrofoam block in another harness. The experimenter rat could respond by pressing a bar that would lower either the distressed rat or the block. The distressed rat was freed more often than the block.


To learn more about some of the empathy research covered in this article, watch the video below.

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There's More To Smart Dogs Than What '60 Minutes' And Chaser Showed You: Dogs are wired for empathy in ways that many other species are not.

There's More To Smart Dogs Than What '60 Minutes' And Chaser Showed You: Dogs are wired for empathy in ways that many other species are not. | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

by Arlene Weintraub 
During the 60 Minutes story we heard a lot about oxytocin, commonly called “the love hormone.” This is a hormone, made in the brains of both dogs and people, that promotes the bonding between mothers and their babies, for example, and makes us feel good when we hug a loved one. Turns out when dogs make eye contact with their people or jump in their laps, both dogs and the recipients of their affection get more of an oxytocin rush.

But are dogs empathetic? Do they feel our emotional pain and joy? Several studies suggest they do. For example, in 2013, a group of Japanese researchers showed that the phenomenon of contagious yawning—long believed to be a sign of empathy—does not just happen among people. The scientists observed 25 dogs yawning in response to the yawns of both their owners and those of people they did not know. They measured the dogs’ heart rate to show that their yawning was not caused by stress (as many dog trainers believe it is).

Dogs may also be empathetic because in addition to sharing the love hormone with their humans, they share the stress hormone, called cortisol.


The researchers concluded that the dogs were showing “emotional contagion,” a basic form of empathy. What’s more, the empathy crossed species—a rare occurrence, they suggested.

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Empathetic budgies yawn when they see their peers do the same

Empathetic budgies yawn when they see their peers do the same | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

 by Penny Sarchet


The common pet budgerigar is loved for its ability to mimic its owners. But it has another special trick – it can catch yawns from other budgies, suggesting it has some kind of empathy.


"Practically all vertebrates yawn," says Ramiro Joly-Mascheroni of City University, London. In 2008, he showed that dogs can catch yawns from humans. The only other species shown to yawn contagiously are humans,chimpanzees and a type of rodent called the high-yawning Sprague-Dawley rat. But Andrew Gallup of the State University of New York and his colleagues have now shown for the first time that the same happens for a species of non-mammals....


But the finding in budgies isn't just a cute novelty; because contagious yawning seems to be linked with empathetic processes, Gallup says this suggests that other social non-mammals may have basic forms of empathy.



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Extending Empathy to Non-Human Animals

Extending Empathy to Non-Human Animals | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

The ideologies of slavery that kept human beings classified as property for hundreds of years continue to be used today to oppress non-human animals. Does this statement make you uncomfortable?...


As humans, we can only directly relate to what it’s like to be human – and sometimes even that is incredibly difficult — but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.


Our ability to empathize allows us to have compassion for people who are suffering; extending that compassion to non-human animals, whether we have definitive proof of their emotions or not, is the more humane choice.

Jessie Huart Sullivan

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Rats Feel Empathy? Rodent Psychology: Study Shows Rats Will Do What it Takes to Save Their Mates

Rats Feel Empathy? Rodent Psychology: Study Shows Rats Will Do What it Takes to Save Their Mates | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Empathy is a human trait, but it isn't unique to humans. Our closest relatives, primates, will help each other out. Elephants bury their dead and giraffe moms who lost a calf are often flanked with other giraffe females during her time of grief. So, how far down the food chain does this trait go?


We prefer not to think about rats as related to us, but our common ancestor might have been around a few millions of years ago, according to the BBC. They aren't that much like us... but a new study shows that rats will save their rat buddies from drowning.

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The science of rat empathy and what it tells us about human kindness

The science of rat empathy and what it tells us about human kindness | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
But as Discovery magazine reported, there is one thing rats do seem to really care about: each other.


Some scientists ran an experiment to demonstrate that. Here's how it worked:


  1. The scientists put a rat in water (which rats hate). Not enough to hurt the rat, but enough to annoy it.
  2. Then they put another rat in a safer, dry area with a door it could open to save the first rat.


by Adam Mordecai

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Study: Rats demonstrate helping behavior toward a soaked conspecific

Study: Rats demonstrate helping behavior toward a soaked conspecific | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

Helping behavior is a prosocial behavior whereby an individual helps another irrespective of disadvantages to him or herself. In the present study, we exained whether rats would help distressed, conspecific rats that had been soaked with water. In Experiment 1, rats quickly learned to liberate a soaked cagemate from the water area by opening the door to allow the trapped rat into a safe area.


These results suggest that rats can behave prosocially and that helper rats may be motivated by empathy-like feelings toward their distressed cagemate.

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Proof - Rats Have More Empathy Then the GOP

For more information on the stories we've covered visit our websites at thomhartmann.com - freespeech.org - and RT.com. You can also watch tonight's show on Hulu - at Hulu.com/THE BIG PICTURE and over at The Big Picture YouTube page. 

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Larry Glover's curator insight, May 15, 11:36 AM

Interesting reflections from Thom Hartmann on the recent rat research demonstrating capacities for 'empathy' in the little creatures. Empathetically, rats may be demonstrating more innate intelligence than certain political interests who place narrow self-interest above the wellbeing of less fortunate.

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Rats forsake chocolate to save a drowning companion: the rodents feel empathy.

Rats forsake chocolate to save a drowning companion:  the rodents feel empathy. | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

We’ve all heard how rats will abandon a sinking ship. But will the rodents attempt to save their companions in the process? A new study shows that rats will, indeed, rescue their distressed pals from the drink—even when they’re offered chocolate instead.


They’re also more likely to help when they’ve had an unpleasant swimming experience of their own, adding to growing evidence that the rodents feel empathy.


By Emily Underwood 


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Brenda Robinson's curator insight, May 13, 9:54 PM

Hon. Liz Sandals: Introduce a new course called "COMPASSION" for Grade 1 and Grade 12. https://www.change.org/p/hon-liz-sandals-introduce-a-new-course-called-compassion-for-grade-1-and-grade-12

Larry Glover's curator insight, May 15, 11:31 AM

Our empathy, like our resilience, is part of a deep tap root of the Tree of Life itself. And in the case of this research, demonstrating our belonging, with all our other than human relations, to this very Tree.

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Do Dogs Have Empathy for Human Stress and Discomfort?

Do Dogs Have Empathy for Human Stress and Discomfort? | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it

It is certainly the case that hearing a baby cry can be quite distressing to humans. We respond to the sound with increased attention, namely we get up and check on the crying child. Our body also responds to this sound in another way — specifically by releasing the stress hormone cortisol. This emotionally based stress response happens regardless of our age, parenting experience, or gender. Both the mother and daughter that I observed seemed to assume that dogs are wired to react in the same way that people do when they hear a baby cry, but is this true? A recent study published in the journal Behavioural Processes* suggests that this might in fact that is be the case....


Whether what we are seeing in dogs in this case is true empathy or not, it is another example of the fact that dogs do pay attention to human feelings.


Furthermore these new data tend to confirm other observations that the emotional responses of dogs tends to reflect the moods that they observe in the people around them.  

Stanley Coren

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Animal rights: Think outside the cage

Animal rights: Think outside the cage | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
Experts are telling us what anyone with common sense already knew in their hearts: animals have empathy; they are social and loyal; they grieve and mourn their dead; and they feel pain and suffer.


Is it possible for Reno residents to look through the eyes of an animal, show empathy and compassion, and think out of the cage? If so, we can begin to address several animal rights issues here in our own backyard.

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Why People Care More About Pets Than Other Humans | WIRED

Why People Care More About Pets Than Other Humans | WIRED | Empathy and Animals | Scoop.it
The subjects in the experiment did not know the articles were bogus. Nor did they know that there were actually four slightly different versions of the newspaper articles, each portraying a different victim: a puppy, an adult dog, a human infant, or a human adult. After they read one of the four news stories, each subject completed a scale which measured how much empathy and emotional distress they felt for the victim of the beating.

Arluke and Levin reported the results of their study at the 2013 meeting of the American Sociological Association. As you might guess, the story in which the victim was a human adult elicited, by far, the lowest levels of emotional distress in the readers.


The “winner” when it came to evoking empathy was not the puppy but the human infant. The puppy, however, came in a close second with the adult dog not far behind.


Arluke and Levin concluded that species is important when it comes to generating sympathy with the downtrodden. But they argued that the critical difference in responses to the stories was based on our special concern for creatures that are innocent and defenseless.


by HAL HERZOG

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